Will County sheriff's deputies shot while serving drug warrant in Joliet

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Kevin B. Waddell (left) and Steven Johnson | Will County sheriff's office

Bail was set at $20 million for two Joliet men charged with shooting a pair of Will County sheriff’s deputies during a drug investigation Tuesday night in the southwest suburb.

The deputies were executing a search warrant about 8:30 p.m. at a home in the 200 block of Richards Street when the shooting occurred, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

After announcing they were sheriff’s deputies, they struck a rear door of the home with a battering ram and were met with four gunshots fired from within the home in response, the sheriff’s office said.

One of the deputies, who has been with the sheriff’s department for 16 years, was hit in his ballistic vest, Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dan Jungles said. The other deputy, a veteran of at least 12 years, suffered a graze wound to his arm. Both were taken to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet for treatment and were later released.

Two men inside the home tried to run out the front door, where they were taken into custody by other officers, Jungles said.

Kevin B. Waddell, 42, was charged with felony counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery, armed violence, use of a firearm by a felon and possession of a controlled substance, according to sheriff’s office records.

Steven Johnson, 62, was charged with armed violence, possession or use of a firearm by a felon and possession of a controlled substance, authorities said.

A Taurus Judge handgun that was used to shoot the deputies was one of three weapons recovered at the home, in addition to 10 grams of suspected crack cocaine, the sheriff’s office said.

“I cannot adequately express how grateful I am that these two men are going to be ok,” Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley said in a statement Wednesday. “They both are extremely lucky. Both gunshots were within an inch from being extremely serious or even fatal.”

Kelley praised the deputies and the county’s Gang Suppression Unit, saying they have his “utmost respect and admiration.” He said the unit had served more than 1,200 warrants without incident before Tuesday night’s shooting.

Bail was set at $20 million each for Waddell and Johnson during a court hearing Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.