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Wayne County

Suspect faces first-degree murder charge in shooting of Illinois sheriff's deputy

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QuikTrip St. Peters scene 1

A tractor trailer is stopped behind police tape as law enforcement investigate the scene of a carjacking and shooting at a QuikTrip in St. Peters, on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. Officials believe the suspect was the same person who fatally shot a sheriff's deputy in Wayne County, Illinois, earlier Wednesday, a St. Peters police spokesperson said. Photo by Hillary Levin, hlevin@post-dispatch.com

WAYNE COUNTY — Authorities have named Ray Tate as the suspect arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a Wayne County deputy near the Illinois/Indiana border. 

Illinois State Police's Criminal Division Zone 8 announced Wednesday evening they will lead the investigation into Tate's alleged killing of Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy Sean Riley.

After a manhunt that lasted several hours, Tate was taken in custody and transported to the Clinton County Jail. Authorities say they expect him to be charged with first-degree murder by the Wayne County State’s Attorney.

At about 5 a.m. Wednesday, ISP DCI Zone 8 was requested to assist with a shooting involving an officer. Preliminary reports indicate that Riley was dispatched for a motorist assist call on eastbound Interstate 64 at mile marker 115.

A short time later, another responding officer located Riley dead on scene. The deputy's squad car was missing, and then located abandoned a short time later just east of the scene.

ISP said it's believed the suspect, Tate, 40, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, carjacked a semitrailer near where Riley’s squad car was located.

The driver of the semitrailer said he was held against his will and drove Tate to a gas station in St. Peters, Missouri, police said.

While in Missouri, a series of carjackings, robberies and shootings occurred, police said.

Tate allegedly traveled back into Illinois with a kidnapped victim in another stolen vehicle, ISP said. That stolen vehicle was located at a residence in rural Carlyle.

Police say Tate committed a home invasion, and took the homeowner and the kidnapped victim hostage at a residence in rural Clinton County.

At 1:42 p.m., ISP S.W.A.T. officers made entry into the residence and took Tate into custody without incident. The homeowner and kidnapped victim were located uninjured.

Sean Riley

Riley 

ISP Sgt. Todd Ringle said an autopsy has been completed and nearly 40 police vehicles escorted Riley back home.

"Please continue to keep his family in your prayers. We appreciate the volume of people along the route that showed their respect for Deputy Riley," he wrote. 

ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly released a statement on ISP's behalf, saying he extended my heartfelt condolences all who knew Riley.  

“Once again, the Illinois State Police has safely apprehended an alleged cop killer with exceptional professionalism, patience and persistence standing side by side with all Illinois law enforcement through another dark and difficult moment. Mercifully, this incident was concluded with no further harm to first responders, and this defendant will now face justice,” concluded Kelly.

Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza released a statement this morning regarding the death of Riley. 

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Riley early this morning," Mendoza said in the release. "As the sister of a Chicago Police detective sergeant, any death of a first responder on duty hits close to home. My family and I will be praying for Deputy Riley’s family as well as for the rest of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. As the investigation into Deputy Riley’s tragic death continues, I hope that the perpetrator will be caught, and Deputy Riley’s family can feel some sense of justice. I ask that all Illinoisans lift up Deputy Riley’s family in prayer in the days and weeks ahead.” 

The investigation is ongoing. 

Anyone with information should contact the Illinois State Police at 217-524-2500.

Katie Kull of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed to this report. 

Here's a first look at Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry giving his annual State of the City address on Tuesday. The full story will be at www.thesouthern.com later today. Check back for details.

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