Six Peoria police officers were legally justified when they fatally shot Eddie Russell Jr. outside his mother’s house. Russell was a suspect in a bank robbery last September 20th.
Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady ruled Monday the police had no alternative as Russell quickly approached them after exiting the house three hours after the robbery and two hours into the standoff with police.
“All officers reported seeing a gun in Russell’s right hand prior to shooting while he advanced quickly toward those officers. As Russell had advanced toward them, he continued to raise and lower his handgun at about a 45 degree angle,” Brady said. “After Russell was shot, officers recovered a 22 caliber handgun found to be loaded and cocked.”
Russell’s body was 11 feet from one group of police after the shooting. Brady reports 17 shell casings were found at the scene.
Police were aware Russell had a history of mental health issues, but Brady says that did not change the circumstances officers faced. “We see a crossroad in the criminal justice system and the mental health system."
Brady says he's hopeful officers, "never repeat that we did on September 20th based on training. However, if someone were to come out with a gun and confront a citizen or officers, they are entitled under the law to exercise self defense.”
There was no video from either dash or body cameras that recorded the shooting. Brady reviewed Illinois State Police reports, appellate court rulings on self-defense and other information before rendering his decision.