Man shot by deputy charged with weapons violation; officials won’t release deputy’s ID

Video shows officer-involved shooting in East St. Louis

Demetrius Ward was shot by an unnamed St. Clair County Sheriff's deputy on Jan. 19 in East St. Louis. This video was captured by an onlooker.
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Demetrius Ward was shot by an unnamed St. Clair County Sheriff's deputy on Jan. 19 in East St. Louis. This video was captured by an onlooker.

A 42-year-old East St. Louis man who was shot by a St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy early Saturday after a police pursuit was identified Monday and charged with being a felon in possession of a gun.

However, authorities still refuse to identify the deputy who shot the suspect.

Illinois State Police Lt. Calvin Brown, commander of Zone 6, referred the question about the deputy’s identity to the Sheriff’s Department.

“We won’t be releasing that at this time. It is up to the agency” (sheriff’s department, he said. “We can say that he is a veteran police officer who has worked for the Sheriff’s Department for two years.”

St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson said Monday the name should come from ISP, the investigating agency. He said state law prevents his department from investigating one of their own, therefore, any information should come from the State Police.

The deputy has seven years of law enforcement experience, according to St. Clair County Capt. Bruce Fleshren.

The suspect, Demetrius Ward, was charged with one count of a felon in possession of a .9mm pistol. The charge is the result of the officer-involved shooting incident that occurred shortly after midnight at 18th Street and Ridge Avenue in East St. Louis.

Police said Ward has an armed robbery conviction from 2015.

“Ward remains in a St. Louis hospital and will be transported back to St. Clair County when he is released,” Fleshren reported.

Demetrius Ward 2016.jpg
Demetrius Ward

Watson said Saturday the deputy was not wearing a body camera, nor did the car have a dashboard camera.

“No, he was not wearing a body camera. And his car was the only one (in the sheriff’s fleet) without a camera.” Watson said the department was in the process of replacing a lot of their car cameras.

Fleshren said the unidentified deputy was making a routine traffic stop in East St. Louis.

“The driver stopped on a parking lot at 18th and Ridge,” according to Fleshren’s press release. During the traffic stop, the driver was shot. The deputy was not injured.

Someone at the scene shot a video of the incident and posted it on Facebook. In the video, the deputy is seen yelling, “Get out of the car, and put your hands up!”

The man exits the vehicle. The deputy shouts for the man to show his hands and then to back up. The man then begins to run. He stops and then appears to reach down for something. The deputy yells “stop right there!” and then fires multiple shots.

“We are aware there is a video that has been posted online. The ISP will be made aware of it also. There is no comment on that,” Fleshren said.

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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