Man entered Ill. fire station, refused to leave, prosecutors say

Decatur police officers had to remove the man, who told them he was "high on meth" as he fought with them


By Tony Reid
Herald & Review, Decatur

DECATUR, Ill. — Alarmed firefighters had to call the police when Keaon M. Johnson invaded the Decatur Fire Department's Firehouse 1 headquarters building and refused to leave, prosecutors say.

A sworn affidavit from the Decatur Police Department quotes Johnson, 31, telling patrol officers he was "high on meth" as he fought with them inside the building at 1415 N. Water St. on Nov. 4. Police said he had refused repeated requests to get out, became increasingly combative and belligerent and finally had to be man-handled from the premises.

Keaon M. Johnson entered the Decatur Fire Department's Firehouse 1 headquarters building on Nov. 4 and refused to leave. Police officers had to remove the combative, belligerent man.
Keaon M. Johnson entered the Decatur Fire Department's Firehouse 1 headquarters building on Nov. 4 and refused to leave. Police officers had to remove the combative, belligerent man. (Photo/Decatur (Ill.) Fire Department)

Giving evidence against the defendant at a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Officer Scott Gilman said Johnson was trying to grab a can of pepper spray from an officer during the melee.

"And, ultimately, a Taser was deployed against Mr. Johnson, is that correct?" asked Macon County State's Attorney Scott Rueter. Gilman confirmed that and said a shot from the stun gun finally allowed police to gain the upper hand and secure Johnson in handcuffs.

The defendant entered not guilty pleas on charges of resisting peace officers and attempting to disarm an officer; Judge Rodney Forbes found probable cause to try him on both counts.

Chief Public Defender Michelle Sanders on cross-examination sought to establish the frantic frame of mind Johnson was in. "As this arrest of Mr. Johnson was occurring, would it be fair to say he was in the beginning stages of excited delirium?" she asked.

"Absolutely, yes," replied Gilman.

Sanders asked if Johnson was still "suffering from that excited delirium state" when he was seen grabbing for the officer's pepper spray.

"I don't know that he was diagnosed with anything like that," Gilman said. "But he was extremely agitated and not very coherent during the whole event."

Forbes scheduled the case for a pretrial hearing before him on Jan. 5. A check of Macon County Jail records Sunday showed that Johnson remains in custody with bail set at $75,000, requiring him to post a bond of $7,500 to be freed.

The jail record also lists him as facing a mandatory parole violation. A check of court records shows he was sentenced to two years in prison in May after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated fleeing from police.

He had received five months credit off his sentence for time previously spent in custody, and Illinois Department of Corrections records show he had been released on parole three days before he invaded the firehouse.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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