A man suspected of shooting an officer Thursday at a northern Illinois hotel before fleeing the scene has crashed his vehicle along an interstate about 170 miles (273.5 kilometers) away, according to police. (March 7)
ROCKFORD, Illinois – A sheriff’s deputy trying to serve an arrest warrant on a parole violator died Thursday of gunshot wounds inflicted by the suspect, who fled the scene and led police on a 150-mile manhunt before his car crashed off an Illinois interstate.
The suspect, identified as Floyd Brown, 39, of Springfield, Ill., was wanted on multiple warrants, including for burglary, from two central Illinois police departments and had violated terms of his parole on an earlier conviction, police said.
He barricaded himself inside his car for several hours after crashing on Interstate 55. He was taken into custody around 5 p.m. CT, said Illinois State Police Sgt. Delila Garcia.
Police say Brown, who was staying at an Extended Stay America with a female acquaintance, allegedly fired on the officer with a rifle, then fled by apparently jumping out a third-floor window and sped away in his own vehicle.
The officer, Jacob Keltner, was pronounced dead shortly after 3:30 p.m. CT, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.
Keltner was a McHenry County deputy assigned to a U.S. Marshal fugitive task force and was a 12-1/2 year veteran of the department. He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition and died about six hours later.
Keltner leaves behind a wife and two young children. His father and brother are also local law enforcement officers, said McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim.
“Jake was a fine young man,” Prim said. “He was part of a group of officers who chased after the worst of the worst. Unfortunately sometimes (for) these people who are willing to take on these responsibilities, it’s an unfortunate end.”
Police said Brown shot his female companion, 25, during the ordeal but her wounds were not life-threatening. She was treated and released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, police said.
After Brown fled from Rockford, an Illinois State trooper encountered the suspect near the central Illinois city of Bloomington and attempted to stop him. Brown led the officers on a pursuit through Bloomington and neighboring Normal before heading back on to Interstate 55, said State Police Master Sgt. Sam Thomas.
Police said during the chase, which lasted about 30 minutes, Brown was driving over 100 mph.
Police said they ended the pursuit when a trooper near the town of Lincoln rammed his squad car into Brown’s car, knocking it into a ditch. At some point during the chase, Brown pointed his rifle at officers.
Brown exited and re-entered the vehicle after the crash before barricading himself inside his Mercury Grand Marquis for approximately six hours, police said.
Police spoke with Brown in short fits throughout the day, with the suspect frequently cracking open his door to communicate with the officers who surrounded him. By early evening, SWAT officers decided to pounce.
Brown suffered minor injuries and remained hospitalized Thursday evening.
“Our SWAT team deployed flash bangs and were ultimately able to take the suspect into custody peacefully,” Trooper Sean Ramsey told reporters near the scene where Brown was apprehended.
The interstate was shut down in both directions for much of the day as officers surrounded Brown’s vehicle and tried to persuade him to surrender.
Rockford Deputy Police Chief John Pozzi said the incident unfolded Thursday morning when members of the task force attempted to serve multiple warrants, including parole violations, on Brown.
“The suspect fled prior to the large law enforcement response,” Pozzi said. No shots were fired by law enforcement officers, he said.
Winnebago County state’s attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross said Brown has been charged with first-degree murder of the officer. Authorities were also preparing to bring federal first-degree murder charges against Brown because he shot an officer who was assisting federal law enforcement agency, said assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Schneider.
“The death penalty is a possibility,” Schneider said. “There is a whole process we have to go through to determine if that will be done.”
Brown has a lengthy rap sheet, including multiple incidents in which he had been charged with domestic battery, according to court records.
He was convicted in March 2013 for a series of burglaries in McLean and Macon counties and sentenced to 13 years in state prison, according to McLean County court records.
Brown was arrested in Sangamon County on June 8, 2018, for disorderly conduct. A woman filed for an order of protection against Floyd that same day. He was cited by Illinois State Police for driving 35 mph over the speed limit that same month.
In November 2017, he received a two-day sentence for resisting arrest. He plead guilty in 2013 after being charged in 2010 with felony vehicle invasion, domestic battery, aggravated battery and endangering the life of a child, court records show.
Rockford is about 90 miles northwest of Chicago, near the Wisconsin border.
Dozens of law enforcement vehicles could be seen rushing from the Chicago area to Rockford shortly after the shooting was reported.
The incident came three weeks after a mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, 70 miles southeast of Rockford. Six people including the gunman died and five responding officers were wounded in that incident.
“The people of Illinois join the family of the fallen officer in mourning his loss, and with our deepest gratitude for his courageous service,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
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