Man armed with toy gun shot by police outside Belleville store

Discussion in 'National' started by kwflatbed, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed Subscribing Member MC1+MC2 +MC3 109K+Poster

    Man with toy pistol shot by Ill. police

    By Rickeena J. Richards

    BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Police responding to a report of an armed man outside a convenience store Sunday shot the man when he pulled what appeared to be a handgun from his waistband, only to discover it was a toy gun, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Jim Morrisey said.

    The man was rushed to a local hospital after the shooting Sunday afternoon. Belleville Police Chief William Clay said the man was conscious when he was transported to the hospital. Morrisey said the only information he had about the man's condition was that he was in surgery later Sunday. No further information was available.

    The light gray gun and the man's wallet were still lying in the parking lot where the man was shot as police from Belleville, Swansea, the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, and the Illinois State Police worked at the scene Sunday afternoon. Morrisey said the man was a 39-year-old man with a Belleville address, but they are uncertain whether the man lives at that address.

    Morrisey said the St. Clair County 911 center got a call at 2:07 p.m. reporting a suspicous-looking black male who appeared to be armed in the parking lot of the Belleville Quick Stop at 1258 Lebanon Ave. Morrisey said the caller said the man looked as if he was going to rob the store.

    Morrisey said officers spotted the man walking from the front of the store to its side parking lot when they arrived at the scene through a back alley that leads to the lot. He said they ordered the man to show his hands, and one of the officers shot him in the torso after he pulled the gun from his waist.

    Clay said one of the two officers shot the man as he began raising his arm to "shooting mode," aiming the weapon at the officers. He said the officer fired one round to take the man down.

    Clay and Morrisey were not releasing the name of the officer who shot the man. Morrisey said one of the officers was a probationary officer, meaning he was new on the force, and the other officer was his field trainer. Morrisey said a second Belleville squad car arrived at the scene after the shooting.

    The officer who shot the man will be placed on administrative leave to comply with police policy and to "get his head together and give him some time," Clay said.

    He said it was not clear whether the man ever entered the store, and employees said they hadn't noticed any suspicious customers in the store that day.

    Employees Yolanda Halfhill, Terry Marino and Nick Patel said they haven't had any crime-related problems at the store recently. Halfhill said they were all inside the store at the time of the shooting and didn't see anything but police cars pulling into the parking lot.

    Clay said he called state police to ensure an impartial investigation. Morrisey said the investigation's sole purpose is to look at the officer's involvement in the shooting, which he said is "justified" considering the circumstances.

    "If an Illinois officer feels his life or the life of another officer is in danger, he's entitled to use his weapon," Morrisey said.

    [​IMG]Wire Service
  2. Cinderella

    Cinderella Subscribing Member

    Man armed with toy gun shot by police outside Belleville store

    BELLEVILLE — A man armed with what turned out to be a toy gun was shot by a Belleville police officer Sunday after pointing the toy at the officer, according to Illinois State Police.

    The man, 39, whose last known address was in Belleville, was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound in the chest. He was in surgery and his condition had not been disclosed late Sunday.

    The officer was placed on paid leave pending an investigation into the shooting.

    State Police Master Sgt. Jim Morrisey said someone called police shortly after 2 p.m. to report that a man with a gun was standing outside the Belleville Quick Stop convenience store in the 1200 block of Lebanon Avenue and might be preparing to rob the store. Two officers then went to the store and confronted the man at the side of the building.

    One officer ordered the man to raise his hands and surrender. But the man instead aimed the toy gun at the officers, Morrisey said.

    One of the officers, who has been on the police force for less than a year, then fired once, striking the man in the chest. The officers approached the man and then saw that the gun was a toy.

    The officers and the suspect were not identified Sunday by authorities.

    Yolanda Halfhill, 25, of Belleville, was working inside the store at the time of the shooting. She said she didn't hear the shot but saw all the commotion outside the store and ran outside. Police officers ordered her to return inside, she said.

    "We had no idea what was going on," Halfhill said. "It was kind of scary. You don't know what's going on out there, with all those sirens."

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