An East St. Louis man has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly firing a gun at a state trooper during a traffic stop.
Gregory K. Nelson, 52, was also charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. Both are class X felonies, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He also is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a class 2 felony. His bail has been set at $750,000.
Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Scott Boothe said Nelson was still on the run Wednesday evening.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said the charges indicate the serious nature of the crime.
“The suspect was a felon allegedly with a gun, which continues to be our No. 1 threat to the safety of citizens and law enforcement alike,” Kelly said.
Nelson was pulled over at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday by State Police on the State Street off-ramp of Interstate 255 on suspicion of driving under the influence. He got out of his car when a state trooper asked him to take a field sobriety test, pulled a gun from inside his clothes and rushed at the trooper as he began to fire, according to the charges against Nelson.
The shots were fired from a 9mm handgun, according to Sate Police.
Police conducted a manhunt in the area throughout the night and into Wednesday, eventually widening their search to include surrounding areas.
In the morning, several patrol cars blocked the highway exit as officers were seen searching a nearby wooded area with their guns drawn. There also were officers lined in a row, walking nearby fields of high grass and weeds in search of the suspect.
A short time later, calls went out over police radio indicating that the search had been expanded to the area of Lake Drive in Centreville.
Police said witnesses there reported seeing a man who fit the suspect’s description walking near Frank Holten State Park.
The suspect, described as a 5-foot-7, black male who weighs about 160 pounds, has a history of driving under the influence and gun-related crimes, according to state records. He was previously convicted of aggravated vehicular hijacking.
The trooper, who was not injured, returned fire. It was unknown if the suspect was hit by the trooper’s shots.
Anyone with information on the location of Nelson is asked to call the Illinois State Police at 618-346-3990.