EAST ST. LOUIS • A man shot by a St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop in East St. Louis about midnight Friday is recovering at a hospital and is expected to be released to face a federal gun charge.
St. Clair County authorities said Demetrius O. Ward, 42, had been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after the officer-involved shooting. He allegedly had a 9mm Taurus pistol and has an armed robbery conviction from 2005 that makes it illegal for him to have a gun, the sheriff’s department said.
Ward was in serious but stable condition at a St. Louis hospital and will be transported to St. Clair County to face the gun charge when he is released, authorities said.
Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting, which authorities said began with a routine traffic stop in East St. Louis. The agency said a sheriff’s deputy tried to stop a vehicle near 27th Street and Missouri Avenue for a traffic violation. During a short chase, a tire on the fleeing car blew, causing it to stop near Ridge Avenue and 18th Street.
“The deputy reportedly shot the driver as he attempted to flee on foot from the traffic stop and in the process of fleeing placed the deputy in fear for his life,” an emailed statement from Illinois State Police said.
The deputy, described as a seven-year police officer who has been with the sheriff’s department for two years, has been placed on administrative leave pending completion of the investigation.
The sheriff’s department said it is aware of a video of the shooting that has been posted on Facebook (WARNING: graphic content in video), but had no further comment.
The video shows a man getting out of the vehicle after police order him to come out with his hands visible. The man then begins to run from the car, apparently drops something and is shot as he tries to pick up whatever he dropped. Five gunshots can be heard on the video.
St. Clair County Capt. Bruce Fleshren said the results of the shooting investigation by Illinois State Police will be presented to county prosecutors for review.
Ward lives on Wimmer Place in East St. Louis, not far from the shooting scene.