A 41-year-old East St. Louis man was killed early Monday by police after he was seen running around the neighborhood naked shooting at bystanders and cars, and then pointing a gun at two officers.
The man, identified as Jason Brooks, of East St. Louis, was sitting on a porch firing a gun, according to Lt. Dave Bivens, head of investigations for the Illinois State Police District 11. The suspect allegedly pointed a gun at two officers from the Washington Park and East St. Louis police departments, who had responded to a call of a man firing a gun. The officers fired at the man multiple times.
The shooting occurred about 6 a.m. in front of 1602 Gaty Ave.
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Brooks, who was armed with multiple weapons, discharged a gun at bystanders and then in the direction of the two officers, who returned fire. Brooks was fatally wounded during the exchange and pronounced dead later at a St. Louis hospital.
The police officers were not injured in the shootout. An autopsy for Brooks was scheduled for Tuesday.
“We responded to a call of shots being fired at 16th and Gaty at 6 a.m. When officers arrived on the scene, the man was still shooting. He pointed the weapon at the officers and they shot him,” East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Hubbard said.
Witnesses said Brooks was naked and running around, shooting at cars. By the time police arrived, he was back home, sitting on his porch. When he pointed his gun at them, police shot him, neighbors said.
“He had a long gun and a handgun. He also pointed the gun at passing vehicles while he was shooting. He then pointed the weapon at officers and fired shots. The officers returned fire, striking the suspect,” Hubbard said.
Witnesses said the suspect would not put the weapons down, even after officers instructed him to do so.
Hubbard said he did not know whether the suspect appeared to be on drugs or alcohol, or whether there was anything to suggest the man suffered from mental illness.
Washington Park Police Chief Tony Tomlinson confirmed that one of his officers was involved in the shooting. “He heard about shots being fired and responded,” Tomlinson said. “He was assisting the East St. Louis officer.”
Neither officer has been identified. Both have been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation, Hubbard and Tomlinson said.
Brooks lived at the home where the shooting occurred. A motive for why he was shooting was not immediately clear.
The shooting is being investigated by East St. Louis Police and Illinois State Police, Hubbard said.
Some neighbors, who did not want to give their names, said Brooks was quiet and kept to himself. They said it was clear though that in the last couple of days something was wrong with him. One man said he saw Brooks outside in his yard with just a shirt on. He was talking to himself and cussing and behaving strangely. They said, however, they were shocked to learn about the shooting.
Neighbors said Brooks lived alone in the house at 1602 Gaty Ave., which had been his grandfather’s house until the grandfather died. One man said the grandfather possibly lived in the area more than 40 years. The white frame house with a red front door was still Monday afternoon as passers-by came to look at the scene where the shooting happened. A black SUV that belonged to the suspect sat on the side of the house in the driveway.
None of the neighbors who talked to the media said they heard the gunshots.
A family member who arrived at the home while a News-Democrat reporter was on the scene said the family would issue a statement later.
Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503