The shooting of a rural Edwardsville man in early January was justified, according to a decision by Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons. 51-year-old Barry Cloninger was shot by a Madison County Sheriff's deputy late on January 4 as the department investigated a call of suspicious activity at a home in the 7,100 block of State Route 140 in Edwardsville. There had apparently been an ongoing property dispute between Cloninger and the neighbor that phoned the Sheriff's Department.
Once they arrived, officers approached the Cloninger residence, and he allegedly greeted them holding a shotgun. Police say Cloninger refused to lower his weapon and was shot, and he then ran to the back of the property, where he was later found dead. The investigation was immediately turned over to the Illinois State Police, according to State's Attorney Tom Gibbons (pictured). The state police proceeded to investigate the scene as if it were any other investigation.
During the investigation, it was learned Cloninger's shotgun was loaded and he was legally intoxicated, having both alcohol and cocaine / metabolites in his blood at the time of the confrontation, according to Gibbons.