Deputies involved in Mercer County shooting cleared

MERCER COUNTY, Illinois - An external investigation has found that the officer who fired his gun and struck a suspect near Viola, Illinois was acting in self-defense.

At a press conference on Friday, August 10, Mercer County State's Attorney Meeghan Lee said that Deputy Franklin Wade of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department was undercover with Deputy Rodney Taylor while investigating the illegal sale of firearms in Mercer County on the night of June 12.

According to the findings, 29-year-old Alex Cady and 28-year-old Donovan Smith drove up to the parking lot of Midwest Fiber Products in Viola, Illinois.

That's when Smith, who was approaching the undercover officers, got out of his car and began to draw a gun.

Officer Franklin acted quickly and shot Smith.

Smith suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Smith was treated at a hospital and then taken into custody. Cady was also taken into custody.

Both men face charges for illegal gun and drug possession.

The officers were placed on administrative leave while an external investigation was done by a task force made up of 6 entities, including Mercer County, Henry County and the Illinois State Police among others.

The goal of the task force is to provide an objective investigation into what happened when the officer fired his gun.

Ultimately, it was determined that the officer's shooting was justified because he was acting in self-defense.

Both officers have been allowed to return to work.

Smith had been charged with Class X felony of armed violence stemming from a drugs and weapons investigation in the Viola area and also with several drug charges.

According to online court records, Smith was facing federal charges of unlawful transport of firearms.

Cady was facing two counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Armed Violence, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm.

Smith is also now part of a larger federal investigation. Mercer County officials were unable to provide further details on that investigation at the time of a press conference on August 10.