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BROOKLYN, Ill. – A police officer was killed in the line of duty while trying to stop a car that was fleeing from police on the McKinley Bridge Wednesday morning in Brooklyn, Illinois.

The fallen officer was identified as 24-year-old Brian Pierce Jr. Flags are lowered to half-staff at the Brooklyn Police Department and the building was draped in black bunting in his honor.

”Very tough time to lose a co-worker of this magnitude because of his heart to the community,” Capt. Antonio White said.

Family and friends say Pierce always had a passion to protect and serve. 

“He loved being a police officer. This was one of his dreams as a child to become a patrolman,” Capt. White said. 

“He was an outstanding young man, very outgoing, very high energy. He was a man that you would love to have on your team. He would come to work an hour or two early to get his day started.”  

Bommarito Automotive Group SKYFOX was over the scene at the McKinley Bridge where at least three passenger cars were damaged, including one with bullet holes.

Police say a red Dodge Charger hit Officer Pierce as he was placing stop sticks on the bridge. The suspect escaped. The car was later found abandoned on the bridge, just feet from where the officer died.

”It’s not easy to come out (and) leave your house. You tell your loved ones that you would be back and you don’t know if you will be back or not. It’s not an easy task to take or to do,” Capt. White said.

Officer Pierce worked with the Brooklyn Police Department for nine months and previously served with the Spillertown Police Department near Carbondale, Illinois for two years. He also served with the Makanda Fire Department.

After Pierce died, there was more trouble a little before four this morning near the deadly scene. Multiple shots were fired on the bridge.

Police say as the bridge was shut down and other officers investigated his death. A gray Kia Optima sped through the roadblock and toward the crime scene.

Investigators say the Kia hit multiple police vehicles nearly striking multiple officers. Fox 2 was told that officers from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the Brooklyn Police Department fired shots into the Kia hitting the driver.

The car crashed into two Illinois State police cars.

All four people in the Kia were arrested, including the wounded driver who was taken to a hospital with survivable injuries. The driver who struck officer pierce remains at large.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Illinois State Police Department.