WAYNE COUNTY, Ill. – The family of slain Wayne County Deputy Sean Riley has released a statement following his death Wednesday morning.
Riley, 38, was a husband, father, son, and friend. The statement released by the Illinois State Police from Riley’s family said, “to the public, he became a hero on December 29th, when he was killed in the line of duty. To his family, he has always been a hero.”
The family’s statement says, “Our world has been shattered, and we will never be the same. But we take comfort in knowing that he lived life to the fullest, he loved his family and friends deeply, and he died doing what he loved. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ -Matthew 5:9.”
ISP said Riley’s visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday at the Fairfield Community High School Gymnasium. There will be a first responder walk-through at 6 p.m. Riley’s funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, also at the gym. There will be a law enforcement procession and burial following the service at Cisne Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his honor may be made to the Sean Riley Benefit Fund at the Trust Bank in Cisne. Memorials will be accepted at the services and the Johnson and Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield, Illinois which is assisting with arrangements.
Police said Riley was helping a driver when he was ambushed.
“It’s hard to understand how stopping to help someone on the interstate can cost you your life,” Wayne County resident Gene Kollak tells WEHT-TV. “And everything I know about Sean, he was the type of person to give you the shirt off his back. And I’m sure when he saw blinking lights on the interstate at 5 in the morning, his first thought was, ‘I’m going to stop and see what this guy needs.”
Riley was shot and killed while on duty at approximately 5 a.m. near Mill Shoals, Illinois on I-64. His squad car was missing from the scene and was found abandoned on I-64.
At approximately 7 a.m. Wednesday, a man was shot in the shoulder and carjacked at a St. Peters QuikTrip. Police said they found evidence at the QuikTrip connecting the suspect to the death of Riley. It is not clear how the suspect got to the St. Peters area but they were investigating a semi-truck in the gas station’s parking lot. the stolen vehicle was later found in O’Fallon, Missouri in a business park off Interstate 70 after ditching that car. The suspect reportedly stole a Nissan truck and went back to Illinois with an innocent bystander that he’d kidnapped.
The search for the suspect started in Missouri and then led to several locations in Illinois. People were warned to lock their doors and police released an image of another vehicle connected to the suspect. Police surrounded a home in Carlyle, Illinois at about 1 p.m. Ray Tate of Hopkinsville, Kentucky was arrested just before 1:45 p.m. after barricading himself inside someone else’s home in Carlyle, Illinois. The kidnapping victim and homeowner were uninjured.
Tate has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Riley. According to the Kentucky Department of Corrections’ online offender lookup, Tate was on mandatory reentry supervision, which ended Dec. 21. The department listed prior offenses ranging from evading police, unlawful possession of meth, promoting contraband and wanton endangerment.