GRANITE CITY - Recently unsealed charges containing additional details about a Granite City police officer-involved shooting have been released by the Madison County Circuit Clerk’s Office. The suspect, Donald J. Friese, was later killed in a shootout with officers from the Illinois State Police, the United Marshal Service, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office, and Cape Girardeau Police Department.
In total, Friese was charged with five felony counts, including two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count each of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and unlawful use or possession of weapons by a felon. The first four counts were each Class X felonies, while the fifth count was a Class 2 felony.
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A petition that was filed to deny Friese’s pretrial release describes the events which led up to the initial officer-involved shooting. Friese had apparently made suicidal statements prior to the incident, with his mother indicating he did not “intend to return to prison.”
At the time the petition was filed, the weapon had not yet been recovered and Friese was “still believed to be armed/dangerous.” It was also believed Friese suffered at least one gunshot wound to the lower abdomen during the first officer-involved shooting, which he sustained prior to his final standoff with officers.
“On Feb. 6, 2024 at approximately 2208 hours, officers responded to [the 2400 block of] Delmar Ave. in response to a possible disturbance,” the petition states. “Dispatch provided information [that] a subject on scene, identified as Donald Friese, was acting "crazy" and saying his gun was stolen.
“While on scene, Officers contacted suspect Donald Joseph Friese at the rear of the residence. Officers attempted to conduct a pat down of Friese due to his deceptive/nervous behavior, at which point he resisted their efforts and discharged a firearm. Officer Nicoson was struck in the arm by Friese's gunfire. Friese then continued to discharge his firearm attempting to shoot Officer Halley. Officer Halley returned gunfire. Friese is believed to have sustained at least one gunshot wound to the lower abdomen.
“Friese initially fled the scene on foot, but it was later determined he returned to the residence and fled in a vehicle … Additionally, Friese made suicidal statements before this incident. Friese's mother made statements indicating he does not intend to return to prison.”
Friese faced possible sentences of 20 to 80 years for attempted first degree murder, 15 to 60 years for aggravated battery with a firearm, and 10 to 45 years for aggravated discharge of a firearm. Court documents indicate Friese had previously been convicted of second degree murder in 2013 in St. Clair County.
As previously reported on Riverbender.com, the Cape Girardeau Police Department received an alert about a car driven by a suspect involved in the Granite City officer shooting and located the vehicle and suspect around 8:35 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2024. The officers attempted a stop, but the suspect continued and a pursuit occurred. Police used stop sticks at the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge to stop the suspect, but he drove into oncoming traffic to avoid them.
The shootout occurred after the suspect drove across the bridge into Illinois, where he was stuck while trying to drive through a field. He then barricaded himself in his vehicle and then fired a long gun at law enforcement, according to the Illinois State Police. Law enforcement officers fired back and Friese was shot and killed.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine said in a motion to seal the court file on Feb. 7, 2024 that Friese posed a risk of flight from persecution if his name had been made public prior to being apprehended. The file was later unsealed the same day, as “the grounds for sealing this matter have since elapsed and the matter should be available to the public.”
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