Fallen Knox County deputy named; Granite City man charged with murder

Samuel Lisec
Galesburg Register-Mail

GALESBURG — Daylon K. Richardson, 22, of Granite City is accused of fleeing police Friday and crashing his vehicle into and killing Knox County sheriff’s deputy Nicholas D. Weist, 34, who was attempting to set up spike strips.

Henry County State’s Attorney Catherine Runty said that Richardson has been charged with two counts of murder, one count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon and one count of aggravated fleeing and eluding. 

The Knox County Sheriff's Office provided the name of the deputy on Saturday and said life-saving measures were taken by those at the scene but Weist ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

Weist began his career at the Knox County Sheriff’s Department on May 22, 2018, as a road deputy.

Weist was struck and killed by the suspect’s vehicle as the deputy was setting up spike strips intending to stop the suspect at the intersection of U.S. Route 150 at 150th Avenue, near Alpha in Henry County, on Friday morning.

Richardson is currently being held at the Henry County Jail with no bond, Runty said during a Friday afternoon news conference. Richardson’s preliminary hearing will take place at 2 p.m. May 9.

“As more information becomes available for the investigation, additional charges will be considered," Runty said.

Deputy killed:Suspect apprehended after Knox County deputy killed by car fleeing police on US 150

Capt. Christopher Endress, Zone 2 commander for the Illinois State Police, said that Richardson had active warrants for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, aggravated fleeing and eluding, crimes against persons and mob action, “all out of southern Illinois.”

Endress said that investigators have completed processing the crime scene and are currently interviewing witnesses, securing search warrants and gathering public and police video recordings. 

“The Illinois State Police is investigating this police incident from start to finish to include any crimes which prompted the initial 911 call,” Endress said.

At 8 a.m., Galesburg police officers responded to a 911 call of a suspect with a gun at the Circle K Gas Station on Main Street in Galesburg. Two Galesburg officers located the suspect's vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop. The suspect continued to drive and fled north on U.S. Route 150.

Illinois State Police reported that the suspect's vehicle struck the Knox County sheriff’s deputy and then crashed in a field north of the intersection. Galesburg officers apprehended the suspect after a brief foot pursuit.

Knox County District Attorney Jeremy Karlin said there is evidence that a gun was fired from the fleeing vehicle during the pursuit and that an additional investigation is ongoing that could add to the existing charges.

Knox County Sheriff David Clague expressed his condolences to the family of the Knox County sheriff's deputy as well as gratitude to the sheriff's department and agencies that responded to the call for help.

“You now have a huge family consisting of law enforcement,” Clague spoke of the deputy’s family. “We are there for you and will be there in the future. We are deeply saddened by this, and that family needs to understand that. We are saddened not only as a small group here but the communities, our community, should be very deeply saddened by this.”

“The State Police extend our heartfelt prayers, support, and love to the Knox County Deputy’s family, friends, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office," Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly wrote in a news release. "There is no safety or justice without the law, there is no law without law enforcement, and there is no law enforcement without brave souls like this Knox County Deputy."

Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson said the prepared statements were all that would be shared during the news conference and there would be no questions.

Galesburg police Chief Russ Idle attended but did not read a statement. Illinois state Reps. Dan Swanson and Norine Hammond were also in attendance.

Around the same time of the news conference, a large procession of law enforcement vehicles escorted the body of the fallen deputy to Watson-Thomas Funeral Home in Galesburg. Nearly 30 vehicles from nearby agencies were in the procession.

Daylon K. Richardson, 22-year-old-male, Granite City, IL

The Galesburg Police Department, Knox County Sheriff's Office and Illinois State Police were involved in the incident.

Numerous law enforcement agencies assisted on the scene, including the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, McDonough County Sheriff’s Office, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Geneseo Police Department.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office requested that the Illinois State Police DCI Zone 2 investigate the incident.

Galesburg City Hall has been designated as the collection point for anyone wishing to support the KCSO with food, flowers or gifts.