Family home of fallen Ill. police officer destroyed by fire; here's how you can help

Officer Brian Pierce was killed in the line of duty in August


By Devese Ursery
Belleville News-Democrat
        
MAKANDA, Ill. — A fire in southern Illinois destroyed the family home of Brian Pierce Jr., the Brooklyn police officer who was killed attempting to stop a crime suspect on the McKinley Bridge on Aug. 4.

Pierce, 24, was struck and killed by a motorist fleeing police.

[More: Ill. officer struck and killed by fleeing car; suspect sought]

Six members of his family escaped their home on Clark Road in Makanda, Illinois — which is about 10 miles south of Carbondale — as fire consumed the structure shortly after midnight on last Thursday, Dec. 23, Makanda Fire Chief Jimmy Bilderback confirmed.

Included were Pierce's mother and father, Tammy and Brian Pierce Sr., his sister and brother-in-law and their two children.

"Everybody got up and ran out as fast as they could," said Bilderback.

Pierce had also been a member of the Makanda and Carbondale fire departments, which assisted in extinguishing the fire at his family's home.

There were no injuries, but Tammy Pierce told KMOV-TV that the home was destroyed. Alexis Castro, Pierce's sister, said on social media accounts that most of the family's belongings were also were consumed, including keepsakes from her fallen brother's career as a first responder.

Some donation sites have been set up to help the family including:

Pierce had been with the Brooklyn Police Department for about seven months, Capt. Antonio White told the Belleville News-Democrat. Pierce made a 100-mile commute from his home in Carbondale, where he had previously served on the fire department.

He was on the bridge attempting to deploy spike strips to stop the vehicle at about 3 a.m. on Aug. 4. Illinois State Police said Pierce's death was preceded by a police pursuit out of Brooklyn. The red Dodge Charger that hit him was later found abandoned in Missouri.

On Aug. 21, the Madison County State's Attorney announced charges against Caleb Campbell, 22, of Florissant, Missouri.

He's been charged with first-degree murder in addition to counts of reckless homicide, aggravated fleeing and attempt to elude a police officer, failure to report an accident involving personal injury or death, and failure to stop after an accident involving a death.

According to the charging documents, Campbell drove "at excessive speeds, disregarded traffic laws and evaded attempts by peace officers to stop his vehicle and in doing so struck Brian Pierce Jr., knowing such act created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm ..."

Campbell was arrested and is being held at the Madison County Jail. His bond has been set at $2 million.
   
(c)2021 the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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