On Wednesday, the Knox County Board passed a resolution to permanently make April 29 “Deputy Nicholas Weist Day” in Knox County, according to a news release.
Weist, 34, of Viola, Ill., died April 29, 2022, in the line of duty.
‘A true community hero’
Illinois State Police earlier released a statement on behalf of the family of Nicholas “Nick” Weist, the 34-year-old Knox County Sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the line of duty April 29, 2022, on U.S. 150 in Henry County.
“Knox County lost a true community hero – Our family appreciates all those who have affectionately gone out of their way to help us get through the most unnecessary, heartbreaking, painful, deplorable, tragic loss of our lives. We are deeply beholden and grateful to all of you.
“The community of Knox County came to a complete stop that dreadful morning. The community bear witness to the loss of our hero, husband, father, son, brother, grandson. We are more than grateful for you all and we know that you too are feeling the loss.
“The Police Departments – All of them throughout Illinois – their unconditional, voluntary, all-encompassing service to Nick, our family and extended family is meticulously carried out and ongoing.
“A very special thank you to Illinois COPS/100 Club team, Dennison Funeral Home and Galesburg High School.
“Our world has been turned upside down, obliterated and hopelessly broken. Please be mindful of what you post and share on social media.”
A history in law enforcement
Weist wanted to be a police officer since he was very little, according to his obituary. He graduated from Western Illinois University in 2009 with a degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.
After an internship with the Rock Island Police Department, he worked as a security guard for Trinity Hospital in the Quad Cities. In 2012, he was hired by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department as a 911 dispatcher and then as a correctional officer.
On June 26, 2015, Weist was sworn into the Aledo Police Department and after graduating from the Illinois Police Training Institute in September 2015, he began his career on the road. He was also a volunteer for the Viola Fire Department. In 2018, he began working as a sheriff’s deputy for Knox County.
Weist organized the explorer’s program at Aledo High School for kids interested in law enforcement and headed up college recruiting for the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.
He was the union president, a Taser instructor, and served as a leader in a number of different organizations within the Sheriff’s Department. He raised funds and participated in Shop with a Cop throughout his career.
“His dedication to the sheriff’s department was unrelenting; he was respectful to all people, selfless, and always took care of others before himself,” said Deputy Shawn Keith.
“He always looked for ways to make the department better. He was a good husband and father above being an amazing cop,” said Knox County Captain Brian Brady. “He never approached me with a problem without offering a solution.”
The incident and the suspect
Daylon Richardson, 23, is charged with Weist’s death. The next hearing in connection with his case is set for June 7 in Henry County Court, according to court records. He is being held in Henry County Jail.
On April 29, about 8 a.m., Galesburg Police Department Officers responded to a 911 call of a suspect with a gun at the Circle K Gas Station on Main Street in Galesburg. Two Galesburg Officers located the suspect vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, according to a news release.
Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Weist began setting up spike strips at the intersection of U.S. Highway 150 at 150 Avenue in Henry County. He was struck by the suspect vehicle, which crashed in a field north of the intersection, police allege.
Galesburg Officers apprehended Richardson after a brief foot pursuit, a news release says.
The board also passed two other law-enforcement-related proclamations: One to recognize National Correctional Officers and Employees Week in Knox County from May 1-6 and one to recognize National Police Week in Knox County from May 14-20.