Last updated: 17 days ago
Nathaniel T. "Nate" Edwards, 43, was shot by Rock Falls police during a traffic stop Friday night January 26, 2018 his family has confirmed.
Edwards, a habitual traffic offender, was driving with a revoked license, and in fact was facing yet another felony charge of driving without a license at the time of the shooting.
In addition, Edwards has an extensive criminal history in Whiteside County dating back 20 years. Ten orders of protection by at least three women had been filed against him since 1999.
His niece, Marie Ruff of Dixon, said that the family's concern is that the investigation is thorough, all witnesses are interviewed and their accounts verified.
"It's a proven fact that a person that does not get out of the vehicle when he’s told to stop is going to be deemed a threat, but it's also their duty as police officers to determine that they need to use that kind of force," Ruff said.
To that end, dash-cam footage from one Rock Falls police and two Whiteside County sheriff squad cars is among the evidence collected by the Illinois State Police on Friday night, ISP Lt. Chris Endress, who is overseeing the investigation, said this morning.
According to a brief news release from Rock Falls police sent around 1:30 this morning, officers followed the driver, who was eastbound on Dixon Avenue, to the 1300 block of Franklin Street, where the shooting occurred.
"The information thus far indicates that the officers acted appropriately," the release said. "Our thoughts are with the officers involved and their families, and the family of the decedent."
According to Ruff, Edwards was at a party at 1304 Franklin St., went to the store and was returning when police tried to pull him over, adding that she was not at the party herself but was relating what she had been told by a woman who was.
When police tried to pull him over, he circled the block three times before pulling into the driveway of the home.
Edwards did not get out of the car when commanded to do so, she said, and died when police "shot the car up" with him inside.
Two days after the killing, Chief Tammy Nelson said in a news release that Edwards had thrown his car in reverse and “accelerated in the path of the officer.”
January 2018 Lawsuit filed
What charges, if any, will be filed against him will be decided by State’s Attorney Terry Costello.
In the meantime, the officer’s eager to get back to work, and Nelson sees “no reason” not to bring him back, she said.
Until Costello makes his decision, the officer will not be identified, Nelson said.