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Police officer killed after approaching stolen vehicle at gas station, suspect in custody

Officer Tyler Timmins

Kim Bell

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

PONTOON BEACH, Ill. — A Pontoon Beach police officer has died after being shot Tuesday morning at a gas station.

Officer Tyler Timmins, 36, died at a St. Louis hospital of his injuries, said Trooper Jayme Bufford of the Illinois State Police.

His body was transported to the St. Louis medical examiner’s office Tuesday afternoon, escorted by a procession of police cars that stretched for a half-mile.

Timmins was shot about 8 a.m. Tuesday on the parking lot of a Speedway gas station, at Highway 111 and Chain of Rocks Road. As the officer walked toward a vehicle he suspected had been stolen, a man began firing shots, Bufford said.

Illinois State Police said a man was arrested on the scene immediately after the shooting. Police had not publicly identified the suspect.

The vehicle that apparently sparked the officer’s interest was a stolen Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with Missouri license plates.

The injured officer was rushed to a hospital in Granite City with life-threatening injuries, then transferred to SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital, which specializes in the most critical cases. Officers from numerous departments congregated outside in support.

Pontoon Beach, a village in Madison County, has a population of about 5,800 residents. The village employs 22 people on its police force, including four dispatchers and a records clerk.

Edwardsville Police Chief Michael Fillback said some of his officers and other officers throughout the Metro East are filling in on patrol for Pontoon Beach officers now because their officers were so shaken by the shooting.

Timmins joined Pontoon Beach police in April 2020, said Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Elbert Jennings. He was a police officer in Madison County for 14 years and previously served as a police officer in Roxana, Worden and Hartford.

Timmins is survived by his wife, according to a fundraiser from the nonprofit Backstoppers, which provides financial help to the families of first responders who die in the line of duty.

He is the eighth Metro East officer to die on the job since 2006 and the second to be killed this year. Brooklyn police Officer Brian Pierce Jr. was fatally struck Aug. 4 by a fleeing car on the McKinley Bridge in Venice while he tried to place spike strips on the pavement.


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