Decatur, IL – Dramatic bodycam footage captured the moment when a gunman opened fire on Decatur police and a Macon County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop earlier this month (video below).
DPD Officer Austin Bowman, a two-year DPD veteran, was shot once in his lower abdomen.
Police released a total of 10 videos on Monday showing officers’ interaction with the suspect, 32-year-old Jamontey Neal, the Herald & Review reported.
The incident began at approximately 12:25 a.m. on Oct. 12, when Decatur police stopped a vehicle in the 1300-block of East Walnut, the DPD said in a press release later that same day.
The officers involved in the stop are members of the DPD’s Community Action Team (CAT), which is tasked with identifying and apprehending criminals who have illegal firearms, the Herald & Review reported.
DPD Chief Shane Brandel said during a press conference on Monday that the CAT had received a tip that Neal was in possession of a firearm.
Neal was previously convicted of multiple crimes – including a gun offense – and had served 15 years in prison, the Herald & Review reported.
Chief Brandel said the officers pulled Neal over and ordered him to show his hands, but Neal refused, WAND reported.
That’s when one of the officers spotted a firearm tucked beneath the suspect, according to police.
“It’s under his -ss!” one officer alerted in the bodycam footage.
“Do no reach for it!” another officer ordered.
“Ain’t nothing under my -ss!” Neal argued.
An officer ordered the suspect to put his hands on the roof, but he refused, arguing that he “ain’t did nothing,” the video showed.
“Grab the roof right now or I’m gonna end up shooting you,” the officer told him.
“I’m not moving. Shoot me,” Neal responded.
The officers began attempting to remove the suspect from the vehicle, but he pulled away and told them to stop touching him, the video showed.
That’s when Neal suddenly pulled out a gun and opened fire on them at close range.
Officers returned fire, at which point Neal shot at them again, prompting an additional barrage of gunfire from police, WAND reported.
“Sergeant Wittmer was in the worst possible situation in this incident,” Chief Brandel said. “He had been hit multiple times by gunfire. He went down to the ground. His vision was impaired. He had a malfunction of his weapon and he was completely exposed to the person who was trying to kill him.”
One video showed Sgt. Wittmer’s hair being ruffled as a bullet flew by his head, the Herald & Review reported.
The wounded sergeant was knocked to the ground and quickly cleared his jammed weapon before firing a full magazine’s worth of rounds at his attacker.
Chief Brandel said Sgt. Wittmer’s training and “muscle memory” enabled him to fix his jammed weapon so quickly that doesn’t even remember having done it, the Herald & Review reported.
A total of three DPD officers and one Macon County sheriff’s deputy fired their weapons during the confrontation, according to police.
Investigators later determined the suspect actually had two guns, Chief Brandel said.
Neal was rushed to Decatur Memorial Hospital by ambulance and was pronounced dead a short while later.
Sgt. Wittmer and Officer Bowman were transported to the hospital by other officers at the scene.
Officer Bowman suffered a “through and through” wound to his lower abdomen and has since been released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home, WAND reported.
Sgt. Wittmer suffered severe gunshot wounds to his hand and may lose a finger as a result, but doctors are hopeful that surgical procedures may be able to save it.
The sergeant was also shot in his foot.
Another round hit him in his left posterior, but a titanium wallet stopped that bullet from traveling into his body, WAND reported.
Sgt. Wittmer suffered additional shrapnel and fragment wounds to his head, police said.
He has also been released form the hospital and is continuing his recovery at home, WAND reported.
“They are both doing well,” Chief Brandel said. “I think if it were up to them, they would be back to work tomorrow. That is their spirit. They have a true desire to serve their community.”
Neal’s family reviewed the bodycam footage with the Macon County State’s Attorney and Illinois State Police prior to the videos being released to the public, WAND reported.
“I’ve said this from the beginning, I want the public to see this… there is no hiding anything here,” Chief Brandel told reporters. “The videos speak for themselves.”
The officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per protocol.
The Illinois State Police will forward its investigative findings to the State’s Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether the officers’ use of deadly force was justified, WAND reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below (click within the tweet to view). Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:
⚠️ GRAPHIC ⚠️ The ONLY THING ROUTINE is the attacks on our nation’s Law Enforcement Officers as they continue to Stand the Line for our neighborhoods, homes & businesses.
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) October 25, 2022