ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) - Randy Pierson, the man who allegedly killed himself after drawing a gun on a Rockford Police officer during a traffic stop on US 20 on Wednesday, had been on the run from the law in Minnesota for more than a year, court records show.
Pierson, 56, a former boat show owner, was facing 15 felony counts of theft by swindle in Stearns County, and was added to the Stearns County Most Wanted list in October of 2017, KNSI Radio reported.
Pierson was accused of stealing customers boats through his business, Avon Marine.
In one case, Pierson admitted to stealing a customer's pontoon boat motor and installing it on another boat, claiming it to be a new motor.
In another, Pierson allegedlly made a deal to trade a pontoon and cash for a new pontoon, but after receiving $33,000 in credit and issuing a $15,000 down payment, never received his new boat. Pierson allegedly sold the pontoon he traded in.
Pierson was accused of stealing thousands of dollars in cash and property from his customers, dating back to 2013.
A warrant for his arrest was made on October 6th, 2017 when he failed to appear for a sentencing hearing.
On Wednesday, February 6th of this year, investigators say a Rockford Police officer conducted a traffic stop on a pickup truck, towing camping trailer, in the westbound lanes of US 20, near Montague Road.
During the stop, police say Pierson pulled out a handgun. The officer fired several shots.
The gunman wasn't hit. However, police reported that Pierson died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A Rockford Police officer and an Illinois State trooper were taken to the hospital as a precatuion. Chief O'Shea says neither were injured.
The Winnebago-Boone County Integrity Task Force is investigating the incident and confirmed Pierson's identity.
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