One man is dead after a police standoff and officer-involved shooting on Belleville’s west side Tuesday morning.
According to police, officers responded to a call for fireworks around 11 a.m. in the 600 block of S. 20th Street.
The first officers to arrive found Donald Martin, 39, armed with a shotgun in his backyard.
“As officers responded, the subject fired what appeared to be a round from his shotgun and retreated inside,” said Master Sgt. Todd Keilbach of the Belleville Police Dept.
Trained negotiators were brought to the scene as part of a special response team to try and de-escalate the situation. They spent more than an hour trying to contact him.
But police said Martin continued to shoot at officers, forcing them to return fire.
Master Sgt. Keilbach said, “While officers were trying to contact him, the subject shot several rounds from inside the house outside.”
Martin was struck by police gunfire and found unresponsive at the scene.
According to the St. Clair County Coroner, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 1:13 p.m. from multiple gunshot wounds.
Paula Daley, a neighbor who lived next door to Martin, said he was deeply troubled and lived alone after his wife left him. She said he grew up in the area.
“He had a rough life, he really did from a child on. You knew something was wrong and you know he needed help,” she said.
Daley said prior to the deadly shooting, Martin was causing a disturbance to her property.
“He was throwing bottle rockets in our backyard. And I didn’t even want to say anything to him. I just had a fear of him,” she said.
Daley said she took her dogs inside, and that’s when she heard something that was very different from fireworks.
“It was guns shooting,” she said. “And the next thing you know the squad cars come down. But he was not right and scary.”
Per online records, Martin had a few run-ins with the law, including a 2005 guilty plea for one count of misdemeanor domestic battery.
Police said he had been making suicidal statements over the course of their interaction with him Tuesday.
“I guess this was the day he chose to do whatever he decided to do,” Daley said.