A June 12 officer-involved shooting near Viola has been deemed warranted, according to Mercer County officials.
During a Friday morning press conference officials said an external investigation by the Mercer/Henry County Task Force and the Illinois State Police determined Wade and Deputy Rodney Taylor were acting in self-defense.

Cala Smoldt/Correspondent

ALEDO — A June 12 officer-involved shooting near Viola has been deemed warranted, according to Mercer County officials.

At a news conference Aug. 10, Mercer County Sheriff David Staley and Mercer County State's Attorney Meeghan Lee said the two involved officers were acting in self-defense when the shooting occurred.

According to Staley, the deputies were undercover conducting an investigation into illegal firearms and drugs in rural Viola when Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy Franklin Wade inflicted a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to Donovan Smith, 28, of Sherrard.

Smith was treated at Trinity West Hospital in Rock Island and later moved to the Mercer County Jail. Alex Cady, 29, of Preemption, also was arrested during the incident.

During a Friday morning press conference officials said an external investigation by the Mercer/Henry County Task Force and the Illinois State Police determined Wade and Deputy Rodney Taylor were acting in self-defense.

"We are happy to conclude this was completely warranted," Lee said. "The officers were well-within the confines of their duties to shoot."

The shooting happened in the parking lot of Midwest Fibre Products, Inc. where undercover deputies were conducting the investigation. Lee said the deputies testified they could see the individuals were armed when they approached.

“At some point Mr. Smith is alleged to have drawn that weapon - luckily our undercover officers saw him draw that weapon and was able to react and stop him from shooting either himself or the other undercover officer,” said Lee.

The Sheriff’s Deputies were back on duty yesterday. Staley said his staff consists of 11 full-time officers and three part-time and losing two officers for two months had a huge impact on the department.

“Anytime you take one, much less two, of those individuals out and take them off the job - that’s a pretty big impact in a small organization like ours.”

While on paid administrative leave the deputies had to be available for questioning by task force investigators.

Weapons charges against Cady involve a .22-caliber Jennings pistol and a .223-caliber Savage rifle. Charges include armed violence, a Class X felony; possession of a stolen firearm, a Class 2 felony; and two counts of possession of a weapon by a felon, Class 3 felonies.

Cady's next scheduled court appearance in Mercer County is Monday.

Smith initially was charged in Mercer County court with the Class X felony of armed violence/Category 1, a Class 2 felony of possession of a stolen firearm, and the Class 3 felonies of a felon possessing or using a weapon or firearm and possession of less than five grams of methamphetamine.

On July 25, the local charges were dropped and Smith was charged with federal offenses in connection to the incident.