In July 2020, St. Louis Sheriff’s Deputy James Buchanan, 53, saw a suspect carjack a man and a boy. The deputy stopped to help and now finds himself charged with murder.
Armed with a screwdriver, William Burgess carjacked a black pickup truck from a 67-year-old grandfather and his 10-year-old grandson at a McDonald’s. According to KSDK 5 News, after a brief struggle, Burgess drove off.
Burgess then turned the stolen truck around and drove across oncoming lanes, onto the sidewalk, toward the two victims. The grandfather pushed his grandson out of the way, but Burgess struck the grandfather, causing a serious leg injury.
On his way into work in uniform, Deputy Buchanan saw Burgess hit the grandfather with the truck. FOX 2 News reported, Burgess crashed at a nearby residence, bailed out of the truck, and fled behind a building.
The deputy told investigators he chased Burgess behind the building and kept telling Burgess to stop, but the suspect turned and charged him. Buchanan fired one shot, killing the 27-year-old. Sheriff Vernon Betts says he supports Deputy Buchanan, and so does Sara Buck, the boy’s mother, and man’s daughter.
Still, St. Louis Prosecutor Wesley Bell “announced a grand jury had indicted Buchanan on second-degree murder and armed criminal action charges.” Bell said grand jury privacy rules prevent him from commenting on what evidence the grand jury based their indictment.
Despite the charges, Sara Buck said, “He’s a hero. You don’t throw heroes in prison. This is so wrong.” She added, “Every court date he is at, I will be there.”
Erin Wick, Burgess’ mother, said her son has had problems with heroin addiction. She said, “He should have went to jail for what he did… He didn’t deserve to die for what he did.”
Sheriff Betts said, “I’m going to do all that I can to help him clear his name and to get out of this.”
Sara Buck said it took six months for her father to heal from his injuries. She said when she told her son, now 11, about the murder charge, he said, “But he saved our life; I don’t understand.”
Buck added, “He is supposed to protect and serve, which is exactly what he did, and now he’s being crucified for it all because of him helping my family,” Buck said. “I don’t understand our justice system. This is not justice; that is for sure.”
FOX 2 News noted, “If convicted of the murder charge, Buchanan faces a sentence of 10 to 30 years up to life imprisonment.”
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