The family of Nathaniel T. “Nate” Edwards, the man shot dead by Rock Falls, Illinois, police during a traffic stop Friday night, is now speaking out on his death.

Edwards’ niece, Marie Ruff, says she is questioning why police opened fire on her uncle while he was still seated in his vehicle in the driveway of a residence he was visiting.


Edwards did not get out of the car when commanded to do so, Ruff said, and died when police “shot the car up” with him inside. she said Friday.

Ruff said she wants to know why police did not at least attempt to pull him from the car. “That’s my issue,” she said.

According to Ruff, Edwards was at a party at 1304 Franklin St., went to the store and was returning when police tried to pull him over, adding that she was not at the party herself but was relating what she had been told by a woman who was. source

Police say Edwards was a habitual traffic offender who was driving with a revoked license. According to records he was facing several felony charge of driving without a license at the time of the shooting.

Edwards’ extensive criminal history dates back 20 years and includes drug, alcohol abuse and violent crimes. Ten orders of protection by at least three women had been filed against him since 1999.

His family does not deny that he was an aggressive person, rather their concern, Ruff said, is that the investigation is thorough, all witnesses are interviewed and their accounts verified.

“It’s a proven fact that a person that does not get out of the vehicle when he’s told to stop is going to be deemed a threat, but it’s also their duty as police officers to determine that they need to use that kind of force,” Ruff said.

Police did not say if Edwards was armed at the time of the shooting or what led to their use of deadly force.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the diseased and the officers involved and their families at this difficult time.