EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Authorities are still trying to confirm if a man in custody for allegedly shooting at Illinois State Police—leading to a manhunt and highway closure—is connected with the murder of an East St. Louis mother.
Illinois State Police are investigating both the murder and the incident where the troopers were shot at.
At this point, no official charges have been filed in either case.
Balloons mark the area on State Street and 83rd in East St. Louis where 24-year-old Michelle Williams was shot and killed.
East St. Louis police got the call a little before 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Investigators say Williams was shot four times outside of a gas station and convenience store. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Prior to the shooting, Williams, a mother of two, had been staying at an East St. Louis shelter for women who are homeless or close to it.
“At this point, we’re looking at all avenues if there is any connection between Ms. Williams and her killer. But at this point exactly what those connections are I can’t really say,” said Lieutenant Calvin Brown, Illinois State Police.
About an hour after the murder, Illinois State Police troopers spotted a man walking in the median of Interstate 255 northbound of I-64.
We’re told the man matched the description of a person possibly involved in the killing.
Authorities say as the troopers approached the man, he opened fire and hit at least one of the police cruisers.
One trooper fired back. The man ran into woods, sparking the manhunt. I-255 in the area was closed for hours. Eventually, the man was found hiding in an abandoned home and was arrested without incident.
Neither the suspect nor any troopers were hurt.
“The investigation is ongoing for both incidents. As far as exactly the connection, I can’t say what it is right now but we are investigating to see if there is a connection whether between the initial incident in East St. Louis and our troopers getting shot at to see if that person we have in custody now is related to either one,” Brown said.
East St. Louis police are also involved in the murder investigation.
The man’s name hasn’t been released but authorities say he’s in his mid-50s and is from East St. Louis. He’s behind bars at the St. Clair County Jail where he is currently being held on outstanding federal probation warrants.