Manhunt turned standoff ends with suspect dead

Home near Kingston where the standoff took place / KHQA's Jim Whitfield

UPDATED: July 1 at 9:45 a.m.

Adams County Coroner James Keller says the man who led police on a chase through Adams County and shot two law enforcement officers committed suicide.

He says Benjamin J. Biggs, 24, from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head. There were no other injuries to Bigg's body.



There are more questions than answers Thursday morning about an almost six hour standoff in Eastern Adams County.

The manhunt is over, the suspect is dead, and now police may never know what caused the man to steal an SUV from Quincy and lead police on a high speed chase east of Liberty.

In the news conference Thursday, it was confirmed that the suspect's name was Benjamin J. Biggs, 24, from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He was said to have died of a gunshot wound, but they cannot confirm yet whether it was from the exchange of fire or self-inflicted.

As the events unfolded Wednesday, two police officers were shot, both of them are fine.

Police from as far away as Collinsville, Illinois were on hand to take down the suspect who shot two officers. The first officer shot was Quincy Police Officer Tom Miller. The bullet hit his belt that holds his equipment. He was treated and released. The other was an Adams County Sheriff's Deputy.

That department was called in to help in the original high speed chase which ended on Highway 104 around the town of Kingsley. Adams County Sheriff's Deputy Casperie was also fired upon in the chase. The suspect was involved in a car accident near the fertilizer plant there. After the accident, the suspect ran away on foot. Officers set up a perimeter and started checking nearby houses.

Chief Deputy Fred Kientzle says, "We entered one of the residence and when our team was going up the steps and there was an altercation with a fire fight inside the house."

The deputy, Sgt. Joe Lowmeyer, was shot in the chest during a sweep of the second floor, but was wearing a bulletproof vest. He was taken to the hospital for observation after other deputies got him out of the house. He was sore, but okay. From there, the suspect stayed holed up for about six hours. All attempts to reach the suspect failed.

A camera, put in place by police, spotted the suspect not moving and that's when the police went into the house.

At about 9:45 p.m., we heard three loud bangs from where we were. They turned out to be flash bangs . The Illinois State Police set them off to go inside. That's when they found the suspect dead inside the home.

Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley says, "The last half hour, we were gathering information where we thought we could make entry and put an end to this. We determined the suspect's status, the team was successfully able to do that. And we have a lot of relief."

More relief that the two officers who were shot were going to be fine and no one else got hurt. But now police may never know why they got involved with this man in the first place.

Chief Copley says, "You always want to know why things happen, and we may or may not ever find that out."

Lt. Brad Lacey says, "You could make a lot of surmises of what was going through him to do such an act, but it would've been nice to be able to sit down and put the puzzle together, but unfortunately, that's not the case."

In all, the ordeal lasted just shy of nine hours. Lt. Brad Lacey with the Illinois State Police says police didn't want to rush into the situation to bring it to a close.

Lt. Lacey says, "The reason that there was no rush, the situation showed itself that the suspect was not opposed to using violence. The house was held with a perimeter, so we knew where the subject was. It was to our advantage to not make a rush judgment and it worked to our advantage."

As for the house, it was unoccupied at the time, but is owned by an Adams County resident. It's now a crime scene and won't be back in the owners hands until that crime scene is fully investigated.

Chief Copley couldn't remember the last time a Quincy police officer was shot.

He says it's been about two years since an officer has had to use deadly force on a suspect.

That particular case did not end in a fatality.

The Adams County Sheriff's Department says it hasn't had to use deadly force for four or five years.

The conversation is heated on our Facebook page so be sure to join in with your thoughts ...

Denise Buckner said on our Facebook page, "Sad that it went this drastically - don't condone his behavior, but still sad that someone feels like they need to take their life for bad decisions."

Candy Clark tells us, "People r going nuts and its no wonder with society the way it is. Its called depression. No jobs, everything goes up but r wages. Its just sad!!"

We also heard from Katie Reichert, "All of this over a suburban...a piece of medal. What a shame."

(KHQA's Jim Whitfield contributed to this story.)