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Monroe County deputy shot man as he approached officer with chainsaw, police say

Monroe County deputy shot man as he approached officer with chainsaw, police say

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MONROE COUNTY • A man fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy Wednesday ignored orders to drop the running chainsaw he raised as he aggressively approached the deputy and his partner, police said Friday. 

The man was identified the day after the shooting as Edwin J. Esker, 53. Illinois State Police said the deputy had been called to the scene of the shooting in the 1500 block of Mill Street in Maeystown for a domestic dispute. Esker confronted the deputy when the officer arrived, leading to the the fatal shooting, police said. The deputy was not hurt. 

The Monroe County Sheriff's Department released more details in a Facebook post Friday evening.

Police dispatchers received a call about 7:51 p.m. Wednesday from a woman who said Esker, her ex-husband, was trying to get in her home in the 1500 block of Mill Street in Maeystown, Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said in the news release. 

The woman told dispatchers Edker had a chainsaw and had threatened to harm her, Rohlfing said. She said he was pounding on the door of her home. 

Two sheriff's deputies arrived on the driveway of the home and encountered Esker after turning around a sharp corner in the lane, Rohlfing said. The home is in a rural area of Maeystown.  

The woman who had called for help told dispatchers that Esker was approaching the deputies with the chainsaw in hand, Rohlfing said. As deputies exited their marked patrol vehicles, they gave Esker several verbal commands to drop the running chainsaw, which he ignored. 

Esker was in "close proximity" to the deputies when he raised the running chainsaw and started to approach them in an aggressive manner, Rohlfing said. One deputy fired three shots from his handgun. All three shots hit Esker. 

Monroe County paramedics and a helicopter air ambulance were called to the scene. After the paramedics evaluated Esker, they cancelled the airlift to a hospital and contacted Illinois State Police and the Monroe County Coroner, Rohlfing said.

Illinois State Police said Thursday that Ekser was pronounced dead at 9:20 p.m. An autopsy found Esker died of multiple gunshot wounds. Toxicology tests were being performed. 

Authorities with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office could not be reached Friday night for more details. 

Maeystown is a small village about 30 miles south of St. Louis, across the Mississippi River from Festus.

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Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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