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State Attorney’s Office: Use of Force in Decatur Officer-Involved Shooting ‘Necessary’ | Main stories

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – The Macon County Prosecutor’s Office has completed its investigation into an officer-involved shooting in Decatur that left a suspect dead and two police officers injured.

The Decatur Police Department has released body camera and dashcam footage of the Oct. 12 officer-involved shooting that left two officers injured and one suspect dead.

The state’s attorney said, “I have reviewed investigative reports provided by the Illinois State Police, reports prepared by the Decatur Police Department and, most importantly, first-hand testimony from body-worn cameras and officers’ squad car footage of the shooting scene.”

“Based on my review of these materials, I am of the opinion that the officer’s use of force in this situation was not a violation of Illinois law and was, unfortunately, a necessary response to the actions of the deceased.”

Multiple angles of the Oct. 12 incident captured by multiple body cameras and patrol video recorders have been released to the public.

WARNING: The video shown is naturalistic.

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The suspect was identified as Jamontay O. Neal, 32, of Decatur, who was pronounced dead at Decatur Memorial Hospital.

Police officers conducted a traffic stop in the 1300 block of E. Walnut Street around 12:30 p.m. Shots rang out during the stop. DPD said the informant told them he owned a gun.

They said Neal had two guns with him in the car. One was under him. Decatur police said that’s the one he reached for before opening fire on the officers.

Neal, the driver, was ordered to show his hands, police said. The released videos showed that the officers ordered Neal several times to show his hands and put his hands on the steering wheel. They said Neal refused to comply and one officer saw what was believed to be a handgun in the car near Neal.

At this point, DPD said officers were trying to get Neal out of the vehicle.

That’s when they said Neal pulled out a gun and shot the officers at close range. At that point, the officers returned fire, DPD said.

Neal then shot at the officers again, police said, at which time the officers returned fire again.

During the shootout, one Decatur police officer was wounded multiple times and another was wounded once. Neal was hit several times.

Decatur Police Chief Shane Brandel said, “Sergeant Witmer was in the worst situation during this incident. He was shot several times. He fell to the ground. His vision was impaired. He had a weapon malfunction and was completely open to the man trying to kill him.’

Decatur police said Neal’s family, along with Illinois State Police and the Macon County District Attorney’s Office, are reviewing video footage of the shooting.

“I’ve said this from the beginning, I want the public to see this … there’s nothing hidden here. The videos speak for themselves,” Chief Brandel said.

A total of four officers involved in this incident fired their weapons. Officers involved in the shooting:

Sergeant Timothy Witmer, a 15-year veteran of the DPD

Officer Austin Bowman, a 2-year veteran of the DPD

Officer Ryan Ricker, a 2-year veteran of the DPD

Deputy Travis Wolfe is a 10-year MCSO veteran

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Sgt. During this incident, Witmer was shot and killed several times. He was wounded in the arm, which required surgery. He might lose a finger, but they hope that doesn’t happen. He was also shot in the foot and left rear area, but the titanium wallet stopped that bullet. He has shrapnel wounds on his head. During this incident, Officer Bowman was shot once in the lower abdomen. It was a “through” wound. Both Sgt Wittmer and Ofc. Bowman has been released from the hospital and is recovering.

sergeant In the video footage, Witmer can be heard telling fellow officers, “I got hit all over.”

Chief Brandel said of the officers, “They’re both doing well. I think if it was up to them, they’d be back at work tomorrow. That’s their spirit. They have a real desire to serve their community.”

Rutter went on to say in a release Monday, “We know our community has been plagued recently by the misuse of firearms by individuals who have no regard for the lives and safety of others. The Decatur Police Department, in an effort to stop this type of violence, is taking proactive measures to address this problem. An investigation into the events of October 12th revealed that the officers involved had information that turned out to be accurate that the suspect was in possession of a firearm in violation of Illinois law. He was a felon. and was not authorized to possess any firearms. He had two. They made a traffic stop for a minor traffic violation, as permitted by Illinois law. The suspect refused to comply with their demands to ensure their safety and his own as the stop progressed. Officers, concerned that he might use a firearm they believed he had, drew their weapons after he refused to comply. He then pulled out one of his weapons and fired the first shot and got out of the car as the officers backed away. Shots were exchanged between the officers and the suspect.”

“From the available physical evidence, it appears that his first weapon was enchanted. The suspect got back into his vehicle and then got out again with a second firearm in hand. He was able to use all the cartridges from this weapon. One of the officers was lying down. His only option was to ensure the threat to himself and to others was neutralized, and in doing so he was required to use all the cartridges from his weapon, as the suspect did. The whole exchange took only a few seconds.”

Rutter continued, “Of particular note, prior to the shots being fired, one of the officers, in an attempt to control the suspect’s arm and thereby control the suspect’s ability to reach and possibly use the weapon, holstered his firearm. exercise control over the suspect. After seeing the officer put down his weapon, the suspect decided to draw his firearm and fire the first shot. Therefore, I decline to hold that the officer’s actions were unreasonable under the circumstances. ”

The officers are part of the department’s CAT team, which focuses on gun violence in the city, police said. Since May 1, the CAT team has confiscated 73 weapons.

“These guys go out every night to do whatever they can to get guns off the streets and off criminals to keep this community safe,” Chief Brandel said.

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The Decatur Police Department previously released a photo taken at the hospital after the officers were shot. This is part of Sgt. Wittmer’s blood-stained uniform. “While this may be difficult to watch, it should serve as a reminder to this community, our state and our country of the level of dedication of police officers and their willingness to sacrifice their lives to keep our communities safe,” DPD said in a statement.

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