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Jefferson County

Watch now: Internal probe finds Jefferson Co. courthouse shooting of inmate justified

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Jefferson County Courthouse Shooting

A screenshot of footage of the incident.

An inmate was shot on Oct. 26 at the Jefferson County courthouse after disarming an officer while being transported to court.

MOUNT VERNON – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has determined all use of force during the Oct. 26 courthouse shooting of an inmate was justified, but not all security protocols were followed. 

Sheriff Jeff Bullard released a video on Sunday, Dec. 19, detailing the results of the Sheriff’s Office administrative investigation into the shooting of inmate Fredrick Goss, 55, after allegedly attempting to grab an officer’s gun.

The probe not only showed a lawful use of force, but also found that there was a disregard for additional safety protocols on correctional officer Jeff Clark’s part.

Due to the seriousness of the charges against him, Goss required additional security during transport. 

The investigation found Clark did not follow the additional security protocol, putting both himself and potentially the public in a dangerous situation.

Despite this disregard of these protocols, Clark is set to receive a Purple Heart medal for his actions that day. And Deputy Dave May, who came to Clark’s aid during the scuffle with Goss, will be receiving the Medal of Valor for his heroic actions.

He will also be named the Illinois Sheriff's Association 2021 Deputy of the Year.

An inmate was shot on Oct. 26 at the Jefferson County courthouse after disarming an officer while being transported to court.

Administrative investigation results

May and Clark, two officers involved in the incident, were placed on administrative leave for three days while the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the Oct. 26 incident. 

Goss's charges, which included armed robbery and aggravated discharge of a firearm, both Class X felonies, required that he be escorted by two officers to court.

Clark escorted and transported Goss alone rather than requesting assistance, Bullard said. Clark followed all other procedures correctly, Bullard said.

The administrative investigation also found that the use of force by both May and Clark are lawful and follow the sheriff’s office guidelines, Bullard said.  

Bullard said he believes any disciplinary action given by the sheriff’s office to Clark or May for any regulations that may have not been followed is seen as a confidential personnel matter.

Clark was injured during the scuffle with Goss and has not returned to duty. May has returned to full duty.

Bullard said he has been proud of the community’s response to this situation and investigation.

"Respecting the integrity of any investigation is crucial for learning the truth,” Bullard said. “I am thankful for our community leaders and the family of detainee Goss who did not rush to judgment but rather waited for the truth to be uncovered. It is a true testament to the community we live in."

The Oct. 26 incident

At 1 p.m. on Oct. 26, ISP was requested by the county sheriff's department to investigate an officer's shooting of the inmate, according to a news release.

Clark had been transporting Goss to the courtroom for a jury trial.

During the transport, Clark called May, who was manning security at the courthouse, to open the sally port doors, Bullard said.

May continued to watch security footage of the sally port while Goss and Clark arrived.

While in the sally port, Goss was unhandcuffed by Clark as Goss was not to appear before the jury in restraints, the release stated.

After the handcuffs were removed, Goss was transferred from the transport vehicle into a wheelchair, ISP said. 

Goss then allegedly grabbed the correctional officer’s sidearm and after a struggle, disarmed Clark, video footage of the incident showed.

May, who was still watching the security cameras, noticed the struggle and ran to Clark’s aid, Bullard said

Upon May’s arrival, a shot was fired, ending the struggle between Clark and Goss.

May discharged his firearm, striking Goss.

Goss was transported to an area hospital and eventually transferred to a St. Louis area hospital for treatment of his injuries, Bullard said

Once Goss was released from the hospital he was taken to Marion County Jail.

He is still being held there, Bullard said.

The sheriff’s office, as well as other law enforcement agencies, will now use the video from the incident and the incident itself as a part of training, Bullard said.

The Illinois State Police are still conducting their investigation into the matter, and should any wrongdoing be found, the Jefferson State’s Attorney will handle prosecution.

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