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Peoria County State's Attorney says Chillicothe police officer was justified in fatal shooting

A police car's lights, which are on. The text "WCBU Police and Fire" are laid on top of that photo.

Peoria County State's Attorney Jodi Hoos said a Chillicothe police officer had no choice but to use deadly force to defend himself in a February 2024 shooting that left a man dead.

The Chillicothe officer was investigating a stolen vehicle report when he pulled up into a driveway behind the stolen car, turned on the emergency lights, and parked. Authorities said the driver's side door was already open when the officer began to approach the vehicle. Marvin V. Martin, III, 50, was told to turn the car off and show his hands. Martin asked what the problem was, and the officer replied the car had been reported stolen.

At this point, Hoos said Martin raised a handgun and fired off several shots at the officer from point-blank range. The ensuing exchange of gunfire left Martin dead, and the officer with a gunshot wound to his hand. A bullet was also found in the chest plate of the officer's bulletproof vest.

A black 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun was reported to be in the car's console when it was stolen out of Peoria. The same type of gun was found on the floorboard of the driver's seat of the car.

Five 9mm cartridges were found in and around the stolen car. Six .40 caliber casings from the officer's Glock were also found.

Hoos said autopsy results showed Martin's blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit at the time of his death.

There were no other witnesses to the shooting, but Hoos said the video and audio of the incident were captured on body camera video, the squad car camera, and a nearby surveillance camera.

"This was an indisputable act of self-defense by the Chillicothe Police Officer. But for the grace of God -- and a bulletproof vest -- Mr. Martin would have killed him. The video recordings of the incident support the officer’s statement that Mr. Martin fired first," Hoos said in a press release.

The Illinois State Police led the investigation into the incident. That's standard in cases where a police officer fatally shoots someone in the line of duty.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.