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Jammed gun saves Illinois officer's life, police say

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Decatur police Chief Shane Brandel speaks in August 2021 about what's being done to address violence and shootings. 

DECATUR — Police say the man who opened fire on a Central Illinois police officer with a machine gun probably would have killed her if the weapon hadn't jammed after firing one bullet.

Joseph L.V. Williams is now being held in the Macon County Jail with bail set at more than $10 million. He is facing preliminary charges that include the attempted murder of a police officer, possession of a machine gun by a felon, the aggravated discharge of a firearm, the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated resisting police.

A sworn affidavit said Williams, 23, had been armed with a Glock 9mm handgun fitted with an extended magazine holding 33 rounds and adapted to fire all the bullets with one squeeze of the trigger.

Joseph Luckee Vincent Williams

Williams

“Had the Glock not malfunctioned, Joseph L.V. Williams would have been able to fire all the rounds in the magazine in a single trigger pull at the sworn Decatur Police Officer,” said the affidavit, which was signed by Decatur Police Detective Brad Hall.

“This would have drastically increased the chances of this officer being murdered in the line of duty.”

As it was, Hall said Williams is accused of firing one round as he fled on foot from an attempted traffic stop in the early hours of Jan. 8. “This round struck a tension pole of a fence, causing it to fragment,” said Hall. “The fragments struck a sworn Decatur Police Officer in the face and left shoulder area causing injuries.”

Police had set up a perimeter in the area of the 700 block of East Clay Street, where they said Williams was seen fleeing, and found him walking in the area a short time later. Hall said he appeared “extremely excited and out of breath” and told police he had been “crying” after claiming to have left a party at a house some 16 city blocks away.

Hall said Williams’s clothing and description were a match for the fleeing suspect and he was arrested after police discovered he had an outstanding warrant.

Later, Williams complained his stomach hurt and he was taken to HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital to be checked out. Hall said officers were waiting to conduct a gunshot residue test on his hands but said Williams went to extreme lengths to frustrate the test before it could be made.

Having used a portable toilet in his hospital room, Hall said Williams “reached into the toilet and grabbed a handful of his own feces. Williams then proceeded to wipe his feces all over both of his hands. The GSR (gunshot residue) kit was not completed after this due to Williams destroying potential evidence with his feces.”

Williams was then also booked on a charge of obstruction of justice by destroying evidence.

Police report later recovering the machine gun after it was found dumped in a trash can at a house on Clay Street associated with Williams. They also said they seized another gun from the house and found a spare extended magazine for the Glock machine gun.

Police note that Williams has previous convictions for armed robbery with a firearm and obstruction of justice. A check of Herald & Review archives shows that Williams, whose middle name is “Luckee”, had charges that he tried to shoot to death two of his neighbors dismissed in May after the victims refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

And, in another development, police announced the arrest of 19-year-old Nyaira Al-Nurridin, accused of trying to help Williams by obstructing justice after his arrest.

A second sworn affidavit said police had allowed the Decatur woman to take Williams's cell phone after he was taken into custody. But police said they later wanted it back when they realized the phone could contain “location data, text messages about this crime and phone calls following the crime, etc.”

The woman, however, is accused of telling officers she no longer had the phone and had given it to Williams’s mother. The affidavit said the mom had turned out to have been in Indiana at the time and told police she had never been given the phone, which the affidavit said was finally recovered from Al-Nurridin’s address in the 900 block of South 17th Street after the execution of a search warrant.

Al-Nurridin also faces a charge of criminal damage after police said she used a car key to scratch “free me” and an expletive in “large letters” into the wall of an interview room at police headquarters.

A check of jail records Monday showed she remained in custody with bail set at $200,000, meaning she must post a bond of $20,000 to be released.

All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state's attorney’s office.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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