MAKANDA, Ill. (AP) — A fire has destroyed the family home of a southern Illinois police officer who died in August after he was allegedly struck on a Mississippi River bridge by a motorist fleeing police.
Six relatives of Brian Pierce Jr., including his mother, father and sister, escaped unharmed when the Dec. 23 fire gutted the family’s home in Makanda, a village in Jackson County.
The fire also destroyed the family’s belongings, including keepsakes from Pierce’s career as a first responder, said the late officer’s mother, Tammy Pierce.
“The house was completely gone,” she told KMOV-TV. “Already, we were going to face our first Christmas without him was hard enough. All his belongings are also gone now.”
Pierce, a 24-year-old Brooklyn police officer, died Aug. 4 when authorities said a suspect fleeing police struck him as he was placing spike strips on the McKinley Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River and links Illinois and Missouri.
Caleb Campbell, 22, of Florissant, Missouri, was charged with first-degree murder, reckless homicide and several other counts in connection with Pierce’s death.
Illinois State Police said Pierce’s death was preceded by a police chase out of Brooklyn, Illinois, a small riverside community about six miles (9.7 kilometers) east of St. Louis.
The car that hit Pierce was later found abandoned in Missouri. Prosecutors say Campbell was driving that vehicle when it struck Pierce.