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Madison County deputy cleared in fatal shooting

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois prosecutor says a sheriff's deputy was justified in fatally shooting an armed man during a confrontation two months ago.

Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons says the deputy's actions involving 51-year-old Barry Cloninger outside the man's rural Edwardsville home in January were reasonable.

Gibbons says neighbors had called authorities to report the odor of lighter fluid in their home and snowy footprints on their roof, which is easily accessible because the home is built into a hillside. The residents have a wood-burning stove and suspected someone poured the flammable liquid down their chimney.

Gibbons says deputies went to question Cloninger, who refused demands that he drop the shotgun he carried. After being shot by the deputy, Cloninger's body was found behind the home.

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