QPD officers involved in January shooting will not face charges following investigation

officers

Quincy Police officers Matt Hermsmeier and Gabriel VanderMaiden

QUINCY – Both the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office and Quincy Police Department have released statements regarding the January shooting where QPD officer Gabe VanderMaiden used deadly force against a civilian who was found to be under the influence of narcotics.

VanderMaiden, a QPD officer who had been on duty for less than six months, was on patrol with Officer Matt Hermsmeier as they responded to the 700 block of North Third at 11:51 a.m. on Jan. 11.

According to the Illinois State Police investigation:

“Upon arrival the officers were told that a suspect, later identified as Donald H. Hibbard, had barricaded himself in the residence with his ex-girlfriend and that the suspect had a firearm. Upon making entry, Officer Hermsmeier used his taser, striking the suspect. Unfortunately, this less than lethal option failed to subdue the suspect.

“The suspect then fired his weapon, striking Officer Hermsmeier in the arm. The suspect refused to surrender the weapon after shooting Officer Hermsmeier and continued to fight with Officer Hermsmeier over control of the weapon.

“Presented with an armed suspect who had previously overcome a less than lethal option, who had shot a fellow officer in the arm, who was refusing to surrender the firearm and was, in fact, fighting with the injured officer over control of that firearm, the officer (VanderMaiden) reasonably exercised his right to defend his fellow officer and his right to defend himself. The officer (VanderMaiden) fired two shots, both of which struck Mr. Hibbard and caused his death.

“The results of a toxicology report indicate that Mr. Hibbard was under the influence of cocaine, morphine and THC at the time of the incident.”

Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha released the following statement:

“The Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office has thoroughly reviewed an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Donald H. Hibbard. Because the incident involved an officer with the Quincy Police Department, the investigation was led by the Illinois State Police. The investigation included a review of officer-worn body camera footage, statements from the police officers involved, statements from other individuals involved, autopsy and toxicology reports, photographs from the scene, along with multiple other pieces of evidence.

After consideration and review of the entire investigation, the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office has determined that the shooting of Donald Hibbard was justified and that no criminal charges should be considered against the officer.”

Quincy Police Chief Adam Yates said he was “pleased, but not surprised” by Fahra’s decision and offered further details of the incident:

“When the officers arrived, they prioritized the safety of a female victim by quickly entering the
residence to separate her from the suspect, 49-year-old Donald Hibbard. Officer Hermsmeier observed
that Mr. Hibbard had a handgun tucked in his waistband. Officer Hermsmeier attempted to de-escalate
the situation by using a TASER™ to subdue Mr. Hibbard – which was unsuccessful. During a struggle
to get Mr. Hibbard under control, Mr. Hibbard grabbed the handgun from his waistband and fired one
shot, striking Officer Hermsmeier in the right upper arm. The struggle continued and Officer
VanderMaiden, fearing for his life and the life of Officer Hermsmeier, drew his service weapon and fired
two rounds – striking Mr. Hibbard once in the shoulder and once in the head.”

Yates said VanderMaiden has been on non-enforcement paid administrative duty since the incident to allow the Illinois State Police and Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office to complete their investigations.

“A police officer’s decision to use deadly force against an individual is often made in a matter of
seconds and amidst uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances – yet will be scrutinized for months, if
not longer” Yates said. “Having been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Adams County Prosecutor’s
Office – and determined to be fit for duty via Quincy Police Department protocol – Officer VanderMaiden
has returned to full-duty status and will continue his field training.”

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