ALTON, IL. (KTVI) – Alton Police say their officer was simply trying to help the woman who shot herself with his gun Wednesday morning. In a Thursday news conference, Chief David Hayes shared new details about the incident, where police say Stephanie Hicks grabbed the officer’s weapon and killed herself in h is patrol unit.
Hayes says it all began when police were called by Hicks’ boyfriend, with whom she appeared to be fighting. He told them she was about to walk to Christian Hospital in north county from Alton. The officer caught up with her on the Alton bridge.
“She was adamant about going to St. Louis,” Hayes said. “So in light of allowing her to walk 9 ½ miles, our officer asked permission to provide her courtesy transportation to Christian Hospital, which we don’t normally do.”
She was not considered “in custody.” The chief repeatedly referred to it as a “courtesy ride.” The officer saw no reason to worry about Hicks, who was 5’1” and 100 pounds. So he allowed her to ride in the front seat where the air conditioning was working much better on the 105 degree day. Hayes says this was not a violation of policy.
The chief says they rode nearly the entire way to the hospital without Hicks saying a word. Then it happened.
“For some reason that we’ll never know, only God will, she decided to disarm the officer by surprising him. It was an unexpected move by her. The officer didn’t perceive her as a threat. She’s a five foot, one hundred pound girl , and nobody in their right mind would perceive a person like that to be a threat.”
Hicks’ mother, Robbin Hicks, shared the story with FOX 2 Wednesday, and conveyed almost the identical account the chief gave in his news conference. But by Thursday evening, she had changed her mind.
“I’m not gonna rest, and I want the Alton Police to know I’m not gonna rest. I’m gonna get an attorney that does wrongful death,” she told reporters at her Alton home Thursday night.
Hicks now says she doesn’t believe her daughter committed suicide. She says she believes the officer pulled the trigger, something St. Louis County Police investigators and the St. Louis County Medical examiner both say did not happen.
But Hicks is unmoved. “Five foot one against a grown police officer. I don’t know who it is because they won’t disclose that to us either. They’re disclosing a lot of secrets behind us. I’m gonna find out. I’m gonna dig and if it’s down to my last breath that’s what I’m gonna do.”
She confirms her daughter suffered from mental illness. She says Stephanie tried to commit suicide a year ago. She also says her daughter left some kind of note in recent days. But she still refuses to accept the account of events given by police.
“I don’t believe Alton police and there’s nothing they can say to make me believe it.”
St. Louis county police are wrapping up their investigation, and Alton police say they plan to look into whether any department policies were broken. At this point the chief says he doesn’t believe they were.