ROCKFORD, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A man was arrested following an hours-long standoff with police after he allegedly shot and killed a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy Thursday morning in Rockford.
Officers with the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force tried to serve an arrest warrant about 9:15 a.m. at the Extended Stay America Hotel, 747 Bell School Road in Rockford, according to Rockford Police Deputy Chief John Pozzi.
Floyd E. Brown, 39, of Springfield, was wanted on multiple warrants from Sangamon, Champaign, McLean counties and the Illinois Department of Corrections, Pozzi said. Brown opened fire with a rifle when officers arrived, striking the deputy, identified as 35-year-old Jacob Keltner.
Keltner was taken to a hospital in critical condition and later pronounced dead, Pozzi and the sheriff’s office said.
During a press conference at the Rockford Police Department, McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said Keltner was a “fine young man” who left behind a wife and two young children. Prim added that Keltner came from “a law enforcement family.”
“He’s a dedicated family man and he’s just truly gonna be missed,” Prim said.
“He was part of a group of officers that chased the worst of the worst and unfortunately sometimes when people are willing to take on these responsibilities this is an unfortunate end,” he added.
Brown was taken into custody Thursday evening after barricading himself inside a vehicle he crashed on Interstate 55 near Lincoln, authorities said.
Brown faces first-degree murder charges in Winnebago County and federal attempted murder charges that are expected to be upgraded, authorities announced at the press conference. He was being transported back to Winnebago County.
After shooting Keltner, Brown left the third-floor hotel room via the window and drove away in a Mercury Grand Marquis, Rockford police said.
He was already gone when local police responded to reports of the gunfire, Pozzi said. He had apparently fired the rifle inside the hotel room and then again in the parking lot.
A female acquaintance of Brown’s was found with a gunshot wound inside the hotel room when police arrived, Pozzi said.
She was treated and released from a hospital, authorities said. She was not charged with any crimes.
Pozzi said none of the officers fired their guns at the scene and she appeared to have been injured by Brown’s gunfire.
State troopers spotted the Grand Marquis about 10:45 a.m. on Interstate 39 near Hudson and tried to pull it over, state police said. Brown then led troopers on a chase, driving over 100 mph at times and displaying a rifle.
Troopers eventually struck the Grand Marquis on I-55 near Lincoln “in an attempt to terminate the pursuit for the safety of the public,” state police said. When the car came to rest in a ditch, Brown briefly got out before barricading himself inside for about 6 hours.
Brown surrendered about 5 p.m., authorities said. He was then arrested and charged.
During the crash, Brown suffered injuries that weren’t thought to be life-threatening, state police said. He was being taken to a hospital for treatment.
Once he’s released, Brown will be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, state police said.
During Thursday’s press conference, U.S. Attorney Attorney Maggie J. Schneider said Brown was charged federally because Keltner was killed while working alongside U.S. Marshals. She did not rule out seeking the death penalty as a possible sentence.
After announcing earlier Thursday that he was monitoring the ongoing situation, Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered his condolences when Keltner was pronounced dead.
“The people of Illinois join the family of the fallen officer in mourning his loss, and with our deepest gratitude for his courageous service,” Pritzker in a tweet.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, whose congressional district includes parts of Rockford, issued a statement saying her “heart aches” for the fallen deputy.
“I join the community of Rockford and all Americans to pray for him and his family,” Bustos said. “As the wife of a sheriff, I know today is the nightmare any family of a law enforcement officer fears and the phone call one prays they never have to pick up. Our brave law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for our communities, and I want to thank the first responders who were at the scene today.”
At 8 p.m., a procession for Keltner will travel from Javon Bea Hospital Riverside, 8201 E. Riverside Blvd. in Rockford, to the Winnebago County coroner’s office at 420 W. State St. in Rockford.