A state trooper has been cleared in the shooting death of a 48-year-old man during a drug warrant raid in Morrison on Oct. 21, 2022, according to a news release from Whiteside County State’s Attorney Terry A. Costello.

The release says Costello has completed a review of the incident. A woman in the home was also shot, and that findings show Aaron Linke, 48, shot the woman.

Costello says Trooper Stuart Baits shot Linke when Linke pointed a pistol at him and refused to obey commands to drop it, the release says.

The incident was investigated by the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation. “The law enforcement body camera videos reviewed were approximately 23 hours in total,” the release says. The investigation also included interviews of law enforcement and non-law-enforcement people, videos from the residence surveillance systems, law enforcement radio traffic, a neighborhood canvass, and scene investigation and analysis, the release shows.

The incident occurred the morning of Oct. 21, 2022, when ISP Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) assisted the Blackhawk Area Task Force in executing a search warrant in the 600 block of North Cherry Street, Morrison, according to a news release. 

The armed suspect shot during the search warrant was Linke, who died Oct. 22 from his injuries, the release says.

While executing the search warrant, upon entry, officers heard what they thought were gunshots from within the residence. During a search, officers encountered Linke, who was pointing a firearm at officers. An ISP officer fired at Linke, according to the release.

The release says ISP officers subsequently provided emergency medical aid to Linke and called for an ambulance, which transported Linke to an area hospital. Officers continued to search the home and in a separate room from where the officer-involved shooting occurred, found a woman with a gunshot wound. She was taken to an area hospital.

The search warrant was for possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, and possession of contraband in a penal institution, the release shows.

In processing the scene, officers recovered several firearms, the release says. In addition to the pistol, rifle and sawed-off shotgun that Linke had with him, he also had a shotgun shell in his hand and a knife in his pocket. “This evidence suggests Aaron Linke was prepared for battle,” the release says.

“The circumstances would lead any reasonable officer to conclude that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent the death or great bodily harm of himself or his fellow officers,” according to the release. “Trooper Baits was justified in using deadly force.”