Crime

Charges: East St. Louis housing cop high on coke when he shot suspect

An Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigator speaks with an East St. Louis Housing Authority police officer outside the apartment at the John DeShields Homes in East St. Louis where an officer-involved shooting happened the afternoon of April 25.
An Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigator speaks with an East St. Louis Housing Authority police officer outside the apartment at the John DeShields Homes in East St. Louis where an officer-involved shooting happened the afternoon of April 25. News-Democrat

Prosecutors said a housing authority guard was on cocaine when he shot a 20-year-old burglary suspect in the back two weeks ago.

Arthur Sargeant, 48, of East St. Louis, was charged Friday with one count of driving under the influence of drugs, specifically cocaine, one count of aggravated battery with a firearm and two counts of official misconduct. His bail was set at $75,000. He was being held at the St. Clair County Jail.

Sargeant shot the young man the afternoon of April 25 at the John DeShields Homes, a public housing complex in the 1200 block of McCasland Avenue under the control of the East St. Louis Housing Authority. The man was shot while Sargeant and others were investigating a burglary. The victim’s identity has not been released and he has not been charged with anything.

Housing Authority Public Safety Chief Cortez Slack said Sargeant has surrendered to St. Clair County. Sargeant’s employment status with Housing Authority is still pending, he said.

Slack said the victim was released from the hospital a couple of days after he was shot.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said, “The East St. Louis Housing Authority security unit has been professional and fully cooperative in this investigation by the Illinois State Police.”

He added, “Over the past few years, they have done an excellent job reducing crime in public housing areas. But, the law applies to security officers just like everyone else and we will treat this case accordingly.”

Slack said on April 25 that officers received a call at 1 p.m. April 25 about a burglary. He said his officers surrounded the building and the 20-year-old was shot as he bolted from the front door of the apartment.

Slack said Sargeant was immediately put on paid, administrative leave. Sargeant could not be immediately reached Friday.

Slack previously said Housing Authority officers do not receive the full training that most police officers in Illinois receive, but they do receive 160 hours of training through the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department. The officers have authority to make arrests and to carry a gun.

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