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Police: Officers shoot, kill man pointing air pistol at them in Wood River

Police tried to stop a man who was pointing what appeared to be a gun at officers. Two officers fired at the man, who was holding what ended up being an air pistol.

WOOD RIVER, Ill. — A suspect was shot and killed by police officers Tuesday in Madison County, Illinois, after officers said he pointed what turned out to be an air pistol officers during an incident.

At around 1:30 a.m., officers from Wood River and East Alton police departments responded to a gas station in the 800 block of Wood River Avenue for a suspicious person. 

When officers arrived, they tried to stop a man who was pointing what appeared to be a gun at multiple officers.

Two officers fired at the man, striking him multiple times. Police said the suspect ended up having an air pistol, not a real gun.

The suspect was taken to a hospital in St. Louis for treatment and later died. He was identified as 31-year-old Tyler Marler.

No officers were injured during the incident.

Police were notified after surveillance video from a nearby home showed someone matching the description of a man carrying a weapon in the parking lot of V-P Racing Gas Station had returned to the area. The home surveillance video showed a man walking up onto the porch of a home, only to retreat after he hears a dog barking, inside.

“Approximately 30 minutes later we received a call from another person who lived right by the gas station indicating that that person, based on the description probably was the same person, was now located near her residence," Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells said.

Wells said it started earlier when a gas station clerk walked across the street to Jack in the Box, seeking help.

“She had an encounter with a male subject inside the convenience store,” said Wells. “Later it turned out he got aggravated with her as she was locking up, and she actually saw a gun on him.”

Wells said when officers confronted the man, he pointed a weapon at officers. A Wood River officer and an East Alton officer shot the man, multiple times. Investigators say the weapon in the man’s possession was a black, metal BB pistol.

Wells said the two officers involved in the shooting are from the Wood River and East Alton departments. Wells added that he has seen video of the incident and told 5 On Your Side that he is proud of how the officers handled the situation.

"You don't point a gun at a police officer, no matter what kind of gun it is. In this case unfortunately it cost this man his life," Wells said.