An Arkansas man faces five felony charges after he allegedly fired at a Maryville Police officer while attempting to flee on Saturday.
The officer, Justin Krausz, is the same officer who helped pull a construction worker from a catastrophic natural gas explosion April 6 in Maryville.
Krausz attempted to pull over Christopher D. White, 36, of Marianna, Ark. on Saturday. According to charges filed Monday, White then attempted to flee at a high rate of speed, driving an allegedly stolen 2014 Ford Transport van. During the course of the pursuit, he allegedly drove at least 21 mph over the speed limit and fired a gun at Krausz. Krausz returned fire, grazing the suspect.
White was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for treatment, according to a statement from the Maryville Police Department.
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Master Sgt. Mark Doiron with the Illinois State Police confirmed that they are investigating the case as an officer-involved shooting at the request of the Maryville Police Department. He clarified that their role is solely to investigate the officer-involved shooting and turn over the investigation to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, which would then determine whether the officer’s use of force is justified.
Doiron said their investigation so far confirmed that White fired at Krausz and Krausz returned fire. After he was apprehended, White was treated for injuries consistent with being grazed by a bullet, Doiron said. Krausz was uninjured, and is currently on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting, according to the police statement.
White is charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class X felony; unlawful possession of weapons by a felon, a Class 2 felony; offenses relating to motor vehicles, specifically driving a stolen vehicle, a Class 2 felony; and two charges of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, a Class 4 felony.
Recently, Krausz and another officer rescued a worker who was gravely injured in a gas explosion in Maryville. Krausz was the first on the scene at the Maryville explosion in April and saw construction worker John Doug Behme coming out of the fire and collapsing. Krausz ran toward the fire, and with Sgt. Brandon Ponce, helped get Behme to medical personnel.
Behme died of his injuries less than a month later. The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration has not yet determined responsibility for the accident.
Madison County Associate Judge Jennifer Hightower set White’s bail at $200,000. He is currently in custody at the Madison County Jail.