ST. LOUIS -- A deputy with the St. Louis Sheriff’s Department has been indicted in the fatal shooting of a man who police said carjacked a pickup truck and tried to run down the truck's occupants.
A grand jury on Thursday indicted Deputy James Buchanan, 53, on second-degree murder and armed criminal action counts in the death last year of 27-year-old William Wade Burgess III.
Buchanan’s lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, said his client shot Burgess in self-defense.
Buchanan was on his way to work in the Spanish Lake community on July 6, 2020, when he said he saw a pickup truck trying to run down a man and a child on a sidewalk. The truck hit the 67-year-old man's leg and missed the man’s 10-year-old grandson before crashing.
Police later determined the man and child had been in the truck waiting in a fast-food restaurant drive-thru when Burgess, wielding a screwdriver, carjacked the truck, then made a U-turn in an attempt to run over the man and boy.
Buchanan then chased Burgess into a nearby alley and fatally shot him. Prosecutors said the screwdriver was later found near the truck and that Burgess was unarmed when he was shot.
Buchanan, who has been a sheriff's deputy for about 20 years, was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday. St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts said Thursday said he believes Buchanan was justified in shooting Burgess.
“I’m behind him 500%,” Betts told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.