Washington Park, IL – Washington Park Auxiliary Police Officer Ricardo Davis was killed in the line of duty on Saturday, when he fell over a cement barrier as he was chasing two suspects on foot.
The Chevrolet Traverse led police on a chase through East St. Louis and then onto I-64, where it sideswiped several vehicles before it crashed into a barrier on the Poplar Street Bridge.
Two men jumped out of the car and fled on foot, with several police officers in hot pursuit, including Officer Davis.
A witness whose vehicle was sideswiped by the suspect vehicle said she saw the men run from the crash.
“The vehicle had assault rifles, pistols, ski masks, and drugs inside the vehicle,” she told KTVI at the scene.
She said she watched officers pursue the suspects.
Officer Davis jumped over several concrete barriers on the bridge as he chased the men, and then one of the barriers had a 50-foot drop-off on the other side, KSDK reported.
The woman told KTVI that she thought the officer probably didn’t realize the road was not connected at that point.
"According to other officers, he had jumped over several concrete barriers and the third one, I believe, was the one that ended up being deadly," Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye told reporters.
The officer landed on the ground on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. He broke both legs and one hip, and also had extensive internal bleeding.
He was transported to St. Louis University Hospital with what police initially believed were non-life-threatening injuries.
However, Officer Davis died shortly thereafter at the hospital.
No other officers were injured.
"We definitely are a fraternity, all law enforcement, so it is hard for us," Trooper Dye told reporters. "Our hearts go out to his family and friends. It's difficult especially since he was in the line of duty trying to apprehend some bad guys."
Both suspects were captured by other officers and taken into custody. Both men were 19 years old, KSDK reported.
Police have not yet released the suspects’ names but said one was from East St. Louis and the other was from Centralia, Illinois.
Illinois State Police were investigating, and no charges have yet been filed, according to KSDK.
Officer Davis was an unpaid auxiliary police officer, who was scheduled to enter into the police academy in two weeks, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“He wanted to be the guy that got the bad guy,” Officer Davis’ brother, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Deputy Romero Davis said.
The father-of-six had been with the department for one year, and previously served the Brooklyn Police Department, KSDK reported.
“It’s a big loss to the community and sad it had to end this way. He did what he thought he had to do to protect the community,” Washington Park Mayor Rickie Thomas told the Belleville News-Democrat. “My heart goes out to the family and my prayers are certainly with the family. I am at a loss for words concerning this officer.”
Officer Davis is the youngest of three brothers, all of whom have devoted their lives to serving their communities as law enforcement officers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Washington Park Police Officer Taneisha Diggs said that her aunt is the mother of three of Officer Davis’ children.
Officer Davis rode along with her during a recent night shift, and was looking forward to attending the police academy.
“It meant a lot because he wasn’t even getting paid to [ride along],” Officer Diggs told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He just said, ‘I got you, I ain’t leaving you.’”
“The last time I saw him he said, ‘I’ll see you at the graduation,” she recalled. “And now we never will.”
On Sunday night, approximately 100 people gathered together to hold a candlelight vigil outside a service station where Officer Davis worked as a security guard over the past two years.
He also served as a security officer at Lovejoy Elementary school, where he often mentored children about the importance of staying in school.
Officer Davis leaves behind his children, Ricardo, 21; Jackie, 20; Briyan, 19; Rylan, 10; Rickiyah, 4; and Mariah, who is three months old.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Washington Park Auxiliary Police Officer Ricardo Davis, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Ricardo Davis, your life mattered.