“I’m traumatized:” Victim’s loved ones speak out after deadly officer-involved shooting in Lewistown

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LEWISTOWN, Ill. (WMBD) — A bullet to the chest left one man dead after an officer-involved shooting Wednesday night.

The victim was Justin Hammack, 26.

Richard Ruark, Hammack’s grandfather, said he heard arguing following by loud gunshots outside of his window around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.

“It was real hectic and stuff,” Ruark said. “I heard “stop, stop, stop” like about 20 times then “pop, pop pop.”

Ruark said after hearing between 9-7 gunshots, he went outside and saw his grandson lying in the street. He said It was a sight he’ll never forget.

“I’m traumatized,” Ruark said. “I just totally went berserk. I just couldn’t handle it and I went out and scream at them and stuff.”

Caution tape surrounded the area on North Broadway Street leading into Thursday morning. Investigators said there was a warrant out for Hammack’s arrest.

According to The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, officers said after they found Hammack he brandished a weapon at a Fulton County deputy and a Lewistown police officer which led to the officers shooting him.

However, Hammack’s grandfather and close friend, Mandy, said an eye-witness told them there was no gun and Justin was walking backward with both hands raised in the air.

“His hands were up like this,” Mandy said. “He had no gun on him, nothing. He was backing up like this.”

After the shooting, Hammack was taken to Graham Hospital in Canton where autopsy results show he died at 10:45 p.m from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Hammack’s loved ones said the police did not have to use deadly force.

“It was uncalled for,” Ruark said. “They could have tased him instead of shooting him.”

They said Hammack leaves behind a young daughter, and they’re not sure how to move on.

“I’m hurt,” Mandy said. “I love him as a friend and a brother. He’s like a brother to me.”

“I just have to push forward,” Ruark said. “It’s hard.”

According to reports, no officers were harmed during the incident and the Illinois State Police are handling the investigation.

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