MT. VERNON, Ill. (AP) — A New Mexico motorist was killed early Tuesday and a state trooper was wounded in an exchange of gunfire along an interstate highway in southern Illinois, police said.
Illinois State Police said a trooper stopped about 3 a.m. along Interstate 64 to assist a stranded motorist on the right shoulder of eastbound lanes. The officer encountered motorist Brandon L. Griffin, 23, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a female passenger.
After a second state trooper arrived, state police said, “an altercation occurred during which gunfire was exchanged between Griffin and a responding officer.”
Griffin was pronounced dead at the scene, while a 16-year veteran trooper was shot and wounded and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The other trooper and the female passenger were not injured, police said.
The shooting happened near Mt. Vernon, the Jefferson County seat, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis, closing the interstate’s eastbound lanes for more than three hours.
State police said the agency’s internal investigators are handling the case, and no additional details would be released. Once state police complete its investigation the findings and evidence will be submitted to the Jefferson County State’s Attorney’s Office for review, police said.