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Shooting of Michael Baxton Jr. caught on surveillance tape

10:01 PM, Apr 2, 2012   |    comments
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East St. Louis, IL (KSDK) - An East St. Louis police officer trying to make an arrest last month was shot in the face. The whole incident was caught on surveillance tape.

NewsChannel 5 has that tape. A warning, the images are graphic.

You can see East St. Louis Officer Michael Baxton Jr. try to pin the suspect against the hood of his car.

The man pulls away, then pulls a gun. The suspect backs away firing and Baxton hits the ground.

We showed the video to Don Dace, with Help Enterprises and Nichol Stevenson with CeaseFire, an anti-violence group. They couldn't believe what happened next.

A few people continue to unload a car. Some came outside to look, but no one tries to help.
Stevenson says, "Nobody has come over to the car yet!"

Eventually, despite being shot in the face, Baxton gets up, and calls for help himself.

They brought in SWAT teams and raided two buildings, eventually making an arrest. Cortez Gillum is now charged in the crime.

Still, we wanted to get a better sense of why people reacted the way they did that day.

One resident, who asked that we protect her identity tried to explain. She says, "I guess the retaliation. I don't know that person. He could have some family out here."

She adds, "It's already dangerous out here let alone trying to be a part of something that you know nothing about. It's going to make you a victim next."

Another resident watched the video explained it this way.

"Around here it's maybe every other night you hear gunshots. We don't know if they're shooting at people or just wasting bullets because they have them," said Robin Carter.

"I think being afraid is one of the bigger factors here when you talk about the community involvement," said Stevenson.

Community activists say they want to confront that fear.

She says, "Hopefully with that video we can show and start initiating some type of conversation about change."

Don Dace adds, "If we don't do those things, unfortunately we have to get used to this. And I'm not going to get used to it."

At the time of the shooting, one of the people standing outside was apparently a seven year old boy.

Baxton's family says his recovery is going well. He's up and moving around. They'll wait until the swelling goes down to see whether he'll need any more surgeries on his jaw and cheek.


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