CLAYTON, Mo. – A grand jury indicted a City of St. Louis Sheriff’s deputy Wednesday for the 2020 killing of a suspected carjacker.
James Buchanan was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of William Burgess.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said his office’s Conviction and Incident Review Unit is prosecuting the case. The unit was formed to investigate use-of-force cases for police and other public officials and audit past convictions by the county prosecutor’s office.
Grand jurors were given options to charge Buchanan with second-degree murder or first-degree involuntary manslaughter, they opted for the more serious offense, Bell said.
If convicted on the murder charge, Buchanan faces a sentence of 10 to 30 years up to life imprisonment. The armed criminal action charge carries a minimum 3-year prison sentence.
The shooting happened on the morning of July 6, 2020.
According to Sgt. Tracy Panus, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Police Department, a 67-year-old man and his 10-year-old grandson were carjacked in the McDonald’s parking lot in the 11100 block of Bellefontaine Road. The suspect, later identified as Burgess, drove away but struck the 67-year-old man in the process.
St. Louis County Police officers responded to help the 67-year-old and child. Meanwhile, an off-duty city deputy saw the stolen vehicle crash near the Schnucks grocery store and run off toward residential yards. The deputy chased after Burgess and eventually shot him.
You can watch a St. Louis County Police Department news conference from the day of the shooting below: