Prosecutors rested Wednesday on the second day of the jury trial of Shaun N. Taylor, 37, of East Falmouth, Mass., charged with the Class X felonies of attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm.
The Henry County Circuit Court charges stem from a shooting south of Atkinson on Oct. 15, 2017, after Taylor drove off from an Interstate 80 traffic stop, left his SUV and allegedly fired shots into an Illinois State Police squad car.
On Wednesday, Illinois State Police Sgt. Sean Veryzer said he and Trooper Andrew Scott unholstered their guns during the stop after Taylor reached above the vehicle's visor, obscuring their view. Scott had testified Tuesday that he saw a box of M16 ammunition in the SUV.
Veryzer said Taylor refused to get out of the SUV, saying he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and had been abused during his life. Veryzer said that, after Taylor took both of his hands out of the visor, the troopers reholstered their weapons.
Taylor then shifted the car from park to drive, said "Sorry," and accelerated away from the traffic stop, Veryzer said.
Veryzer said he drove east on I-80 before learning Taylor's vehicle had been found south of Atkinson. Veryzer said he shut down a "hot zone" around the vehicle and, using his K-9 unit Roman, found an AR-15 rifle and a handgun.
Illinois State Police Trooper David Jacobs said he heard six or seven shots after arriving on the scene, but could not identify the related weapon or the origin of the shots. He said he initially retrieved his rifle from the rear of his car and entered a cornfield, but later backtracked out because he did not know where the shooter was.
At about 5 a.m. Oct. 16, Taylor turned himself in when he saw Illinois State Police Sgt. Michael Kasprak bent over and picking up equipment that had fallen. Kasprak said Taylor initially wouldn't give his name but later said, "I'm the guy you're looking for."
Illinois State Police Sgt. Corey Peck testified he briefly met Taylor Oct. 16 at the VanOpdorp trucking facility south of Atkinson that police were using as a command post. Peck also said he interviewed Taylor at the Geneseo Police Department and Taylor said he had gone into a survival mode south of Atkinson before realizing he should drop his weapon and turn himself in.
Peck said Taylor remembered holding a rifle but did not remember pulling the trigger. When questioned by Henry County State's Attorney Matt Schutte, Peck said Taylor did not appear to be shooting the rifle only to disable the squad car. Peck also said Taylor didn't tell officers he was not trying to hit troopers.
Taylor's attorney, Hector LaReau, asked Peck if Taylor ever said he had wanted to hit the trooper. Peck again said Taylor did not.
Crime scene investigator Curt Dykstra testified Wednesday that he found at least 17 “defects” or bullet holes in Scott's squad car. He also said officers found 23 shell casings in an area about 173 feet from the squad car just outside the first row of a cornfield.
LaReau said the defense would stipulate that forensic scientist Jason List would testify each of the casings were fired from the AR-15 rifle. When prosecutors rested, LaReau asked Judge Terry Patton for a directed verdict finding the state had not met its case. Patton denied the motion.
The defense's witnesses are scheduled to take the stand Thursday, including a command sergeant major.
Taylor remains in the Henry County Jail on $2 million bond.