A police officer used his taser in an attempt to stop a suspect who attacked him with a knife during a traffic stop in East Peoria, Ill., in February, but was ultimately forced to use lethal force to save his own life, according to bodycam and dashcam footage of the incident first released June 10.
In the video obtained by HOIABC through a Freedom of Information Act request, East Peoria Police Officer Jeffrey Bieber is seen talking to a man who he had just pulled over in a white Ford pickup truck near an East Peoria CVS in the early morning hours of February 2.
According to HOI, Bieber asked the suspect, later identified as Joshua Crites, if he needed medical attention for what appeared to be injuries on his hands. Crites said he did, so the officer asked dispatch to send medics.
The footage shows Bieber walk with Crites to his cruiser where he asked him to put his hands on the hood. As they were walking, Crites’ left hand was in his coat pocket, and within seconds of being asked to put his hands on the hood, Crites attacked the officer with a knife.
When asked by HOI if, in that moment, he thought he was going to die, Bieber responded, “100 percent.”
Crites repeatedly stabbed Bieber, who attempted to use his Taser to subdue Crites. His attempt failed, and he was taken to the ground by Crites.
The pair struggled on the ground as Crites continued stabbing Bieber. After nearly 40 seconds, the wounded officer drew his gun and shot four times in 17 seconds before radioing for help, noting that he was seriously injured.
“That ended up being my ambulance a few minutes later,” said Bieber, who sustained 10 stab wounds. Crites later succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
According to HOI, Bieber is recovering well from the attack and said the video was hard to watch.
“It kind of gave me some feelings watching it, and it just made me teary-eyed a little bit,” Bieber said. “While I’m watching it, I just don’t understand how I’m here watching it because I should be dead.”
The East Peoria City Council honored the wounded officer with a proclamation, and in early June, Bieber returned to work.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s inspiring,” Bieber said, referencing the amount of support he and his family were given. “It inspired me to be a better police officer today because of it, and to help others in need.”