Residents ready to return to normal after fugitive died in confrontation with ISP, FBI
ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Officials with the Illinois State Police say a man wanted in connection with an officer-involved shooting in central Illinois died after a confrontation with ISP and the FBI on Sunday, May 15.
People living in the area say they're ready for things to get back to normal.
We talked to an long-time resident of Pope County on Monday, May 16.
"Well, like I said, I'm just glad that it's all over with and that, they did catch him," Dorris King said.
"It was kind of crazy, it was almost like a circus going on," Dongola resident Jack Cooper said. "There were so many law enforcement people in here, I think it was overkill. I think the county and the local people could have handled it a lot better."
Most of the main roads in the area have since been reopened, but some areas are expected to be blocked off through Monday evening as authorities continue their investigations.
According to Col. Tad Williams with the Illinois State Police, on Sunday, May 15 at about 12:09 a.m., Dracy "Clint" Pendleton was spotted by ISP SWAT running south from the Sulphur Springs Church cemetery into the woods with what appeared to be a rifle and a bandolier.
Officials tracked Pendleton a half mile to a nearby abandoned house.
At approximately 5 a.m., ISP and FBI SWAT operators cleared the area.
When officials approached, police say Pendleton opened fire. During the exchange of gunfire, one FBI SWAT operator was shot and injured.
FBI and ISP SWAT formed a perimeter around the house and sent in a remote controlled robot, which found Pendleton's body lying on the second story floor along with the assault rifle.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sean Cox, supervisor in charge of the FBI Springfield division, said in a press conference on Sunday the FBI agent who was shot is expected to recover.
The FBI will conduct an investigation into the incident.
According to police, there are several crime scenes being processed. They anticipate restricted access to the surrounding area through Monday evening, May 16.
Illinois State Police reported they found the alleged stolen truck from Champaign County on Thursday, May 12.
The Lusk Creek Wilderness area in the Shawnee National Forest was closed until further notice.
Police said there should be no unauthorized access to this area. They encouraged people entering the Shawnee National Forest outside of the Lusk Creek Wilderness area to be highly alert. They said people should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to ISP at 618-542-1483.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a reward for information that directly led to the arrest Pendleton who was accused of shooting an Illinois police officer on Saturday, May 7.
The FBI issued a reward in the amount of up to $10,000 for anyone with information on 35-year-old Dracy "Clint" Pendleton.
The Champaign County State's Attorney's Office issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday, May 10 for Pendleton for the charge of aggravated battery with a firearm. His bond was set at $5 million.
On May 8, a state warrant was issued for his arrest.
According to police, a federal arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois on May 10, after Pendleton was federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
The Illinois State Police reported an active manhunt is staged in Pope County and authorities are on the lookout for Pendleton. He was considered armed and dangerous.
Pendleton was last seen on Monday, May 9 at approximately 9:15 a.m. wearing a black shirt, camouflage pants and boots.
Authorities said Pendleton shaved his beard and trimmed his hair.
He was reported as having a prior unrelated knee injury, which possibly caused him to walk with a limp.
Officers from several agencies including Illinois State Police, the U.S. Marshal's, the FBI, Pope, Hardin, Johnson, and Massac County sheriff's departments and Metropolis Police Department were spread throughout the county and much of the surrounding area, monitoring traffic that comes through certain locations.
Pope County Sheriff Jerry Suits said Pendleton used to live in Pope County.
Illinois State Police Cpt. William Sons said authorities in Pope County, several other counties, as well as the FBI, were working together after receiving a tip that Pendleton may be in Pope County.
There were ATVs and SWAT trucks standing by, and many roads are blocked off, as officers screened people driving through.
A command post was also set up.
Officer-involved shooting in Champaign County
On May 7 at approximately 10:45 p.m., a Mahomet police officer was involved in a shooting with Pendleton.
According to Illinois State Police, at about 10:45 p.m. the officer stopped Pendleton for a traffic violation in front of his home in Mahomet.
During the stop, police say Pendleton and the officer fought, and the officer tried to tase Pendleton.
Police say Pendleton pulled out a handgun and shot the officer in the right arm.
Authorities believed Pendleton was possibly shot in the neck during the confrontation.
They say Pendleton then got an assault rifle from his home and left the scene in his truck.
According to police, he went to an area rock quarry. They say a nearby witness heard gunshots coming from the area of the quarry, so officers set a perimeter around the area.
Before it was completely secured, police say Pendleton got the keys and stole one of the quarry's company trucks. They say he then fled to southern Illinois.
Once in the Shawnee National Forest, Lusk Creek Wilderness area of Pope County, police say Pendleton was see by a nearby resident who reported him to authorities.
Since Sunday, May 8, law enforcement has been searching for Pendleton.
ISP reported it was "... seeking a peaceful resolution to this situation and sincerely hope Pendelton will turn himself in without incident."
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