DECATUR — Illinois State Police are investigating an incident in which one police officer was shot and his ballistic vest stopped the bullet during a traffic stop Thursday night, Decatur police Chief Jim Getz said Friday.
Getz previously said two officers were treated and released from a local hospital after suffering injuries during the incident. Getz said Friday afternoon that the officer who was shot was released from the hospital late Thursday and is recovering from his injuries.
The incident began after officers stopped the vehicle at 8:38 p.m. Thursday in the 1400 block of North Union Street, Getz said. During the traffic stop, there was a struggle with the suspect. Preliminary information indicated that at least one shot was fired by one of the officers, Getz said.
"As a result, both of the officers were treated and released at a local hospital for injuries suffered during the incident," Getz said. He did not describe how exactly the injuries occurred or who fired the shot that struck the police officer.
The suspect, who was not identified, was arrested and would be booked into Macon County Jail, Getz said. He did not say what preliminary charges the suspect would face.
Police have no further information to provide at this time, Getz said, adding that more details would be provided when they became available.
"This is an active investigation, and the facts surrounding this incident are being investigated by the Illinois State Police," he said. "The Decatur Police Department is committed to providing a fair, accurate, and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident."
A signed affidavit detailing the arrest of 23-year-old Thomas L. Gill that occurred in the same area and time of the shooting said officers pulled over Gill’s vehicle after a license plate search showed he had an active warrant for failure to appear or pay for a driving under the influence of drugs violation.
Officers approached Gill, identified him and confirmed that he had an active warrant out for his arrest. The affidavit said Gill did not follow the officers’ orders to step out of the vehicle, so one officer reached into the vehicle from the driver’s side window and opened the door.
The affidavit said Gill started the vehicle, and the officer got into the car and straddled him in an attempt to stop him from leaving. Gill was able to start the vehicle during the struggle, put it in reverse and struck a parked squad car behind him, police said. He then put the vehicle in drive and struck the residence in front of the vehicle, according to the affidavit.
The man eventually got out of the vehicle and began to flee westbound, the affidavit said. Officers pursued him on foot and deployed a stun gun. After a short struggle, the affidavit said, the officers were able to take the man into custody.
The affidavit did not mention shots being fired during the incident or an officer being struck by a bullet. Getz did not immediately respond to a request to confirm if the two incidents were the same.
The officer who straddled the man in his vehicle was treated at Decatur Memorial Hospital for a laceration on his head.
Gill faces preliminary charges of aggravated resisting arrest or obstructing justice and felony reckless conduct, both of which are subject to review by the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office.
He was held in the Macon County Jail Friday on $50,000 bond.
The Herald & Review filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking video footage of the incident, either from a vehicle dashcam or neighborhood camera. The police department on Friday denied the request, citing the ongoing investigation.