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Patrolman William O. Caisse | Paxton Police Department, Illinois Paxton Police Department, Illinois

Patrolman

William O. Caisse

Paxton Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch: Saturday, April 7, 1979

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 32

Tour: 3 years

Badge # Not available

Military veteran

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Rifle

Offender: Two shot and killed

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Patrolman William Caisse and Illinois State Trooper Michael McCarter were shot and killed during a traffic stop at the 259-mile marker on I-57, two miles south of Paxton.

At about 9:00 pm, Patrolman Caisse was dispatched to assist Trooper McCarter who was attempting to stop four speeding vehicles traveling southbound. Once at the scene, one subject fled to an overpass area and began firing at both officers, mortally wounding Trooper McCarter and a civilian who was riding with him. Upon arrival of another Paxton officer, gunfire continued from the overpass area as another subject retrieved a rifle from the rear of his pickup truck, shooting Patrolman Caisse in the back, killing him instantly.

That suspect then began firing at the other officer, wounding him in the right leg and chest, before he was able to return fire four times with a shotgun. As the suspect fell to the ground and reached for his weapon, the officer fired his revolver and killed him.

The four subjects, all brothers and members of an auto parts theft ring based in Detroit, were traveling from Michigan to Mississippi to attend their grandmother's funeral and feared the officers would find their weapons when they were stopped. A third brother was also killed in the shootout while a fourth was not implicated in the incident.

The suspect who fired from the overpass area was found wounded the following day. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was twice overturned and he was later re-sentenced to life in prison without parole. In 1993, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the offender's sentence.

Patrolman Caisse had served with the Paxton Police Department for three years and was a US Army veteran of the Vietnam War. He was survived by his wife, son, two daughters, parents, four brothers and sister.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Trooper Michael K. McCarter
Illinois State Police, Illinois
End of Watch: Saturday, April 7, 1979
Cause: Gunfire

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Thank you for your dedicated service to others. You are a true hero and your memory will live forever. Continue to watch over those that love you and those still out on patrol. You will never be forgotten.

Bob Gordon
Father of Fallen Chicago Officer: Michael P. Gordon, EOW: 8/8/04
April 7, 2013

 

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