News - McHenry County

McHenry County deputy shot at Rockford hotel dies, authorities said

Police flood North Bell School Road after an officer-involved shooting Thursday morning inRockford. A McHenry County Sheriff’s deputy was shot and later died.

A McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy shot outside a Rockford hotel Thursday morning has died, according to the sheriff’s office.

A standoff on Interstate 55 ended Thursday afternoon after police arrested the gunman after he shot the deputy in Rockford, authorities said.

The deputy has been identified as Crystal Lake resident Jacob Keltner.

“This is truly a dark day for McHenry County and for law enforcement everywhere,” McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said after receiving a call from Gov. JB Pritzker regarding the shooting. “Deputy Keltner is a hero who died doing what he loved. Please keep this brave deputy and his family in your prayers as well as every man and woman in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to protect us.”

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office posted this statement Thursday afternoon: “We regret to inform you that shortly after 3:30 p.m. today Deputy Jacob Keltner has passed away. Deputy Keltner was shot earlier this morning while attempting to serve an arrest warrant with the U.S. Marshalls Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force. Deputy Keltner has served the community of McHenry for almost 13 years as a deputy.”

Keltner was 35, according to the sheriff's office.

Members of the U.S. Marshals task force – comprised of multiple deputies from various departments including the McHenry County Sheriff's Office – were attempting to serve an arrest warrant at the Extended Stay America, 747 Bell School Road, Thursday morning when the suspect fired a rifle, authorities said.

Rockford police were called to the hotel at about 9:15 a.m. after a report of shots fired.

A woman whom Rockford police described as an "acquaintance" of the shooter and the deputy were both shot by suspect Floyd E. Brown, 39, believed to be of Springfield, Rockford Police Lt. Andre Brass said.

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said at a news conference.

A preliminary investigation showed no rounds were fired by law enforcement officers. The woman’s injuries were likely sustained from Brown’s gunfire, Rockford police said.

Keltner was sent to an area hospital and underwent surgery, according to authorities.

Illinois State Police pursued the suspect down Interstate 55 and the man is currently stationary inside his vehicle on I-55 in Logan County, police said.

Northbound and southbound lanes on I-55 are temporarily shut down. Route 66 is also temporarily shut down, police said.

The state police SWAT team and crisis negotiation officers are en route, police said.

"Anytime a law enforcement officer goes to execute a warrant – regardless of how minor or major it is – there is a large factor of danger involved,” Rockford Police Department Deputy Chief John Pozzi said. “In this case they approached an unknown and sad to say they came out on the bad end of the operation.”

The suspect vehicle is a gray or silver Mercury Grand Marquis with the license plate number BF13112 or a temporary plate with the number 4850256, Brass said.

Brass says investigators believe the suspect is still armed. He says: "We just want to end this situation peacefully with his surrender."

Rockford Police Department, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and multiple other agencies are investigating.

Bloomington police had investigated Brown in 2018 for a suspected burglary. He was also suspected of crashing a car into three other vehicles, injuring at least two people and fleeing, according to local media reports by the Herald & Review.

Brown was on parole at the time after being convicted for a series of 2011 burglaries in McLean and Macon counties. He was sentenced to 13 years of prison but was released in January of 2018, the Herald & Review reported.

Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said Brown is charged with attempted murder and will have his bond set at $5 million if he is taken into custody. He could face between 20 years to "natural life" in prison if convicted, she said.

Keltner's LinkedIn page says that he was a fugitive investigator with the United States Marshal Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.

It says that he was "assigned as a fugitive investigator whose duties include locating and apprehending violent criminal offenders through the use of physical and electronic surveillance and enhanced investigative and interviewing techniques for the McHenry County Sheriff's Office" assigned to the task force.

He joined the McHenry County Sheriff's department in June 2006.

“It’s a very dark day for McHenry County,” Franks said. “I’m asking everyone to keep the deputy, his family and all law enforcement officers who put themselves in harm’s way each day in their prayers.”

Franks said that he has spoken with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker about the shooting and "he is personally involved as well."

"I am closely monitoring the active shooter incident in Rockford and urge members of the community to follow the instructions of local law enforcement," Pritzker said in a statement. "My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the officer shot, his family, first responders and residents affected by this situation."

Sen. Dick Durbin said in a tweet: “I'm tracking updates on the shooting in Rockford with my staff. Thank you to the members of law enforcement who are responding to the emergency.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Brittany Keeperman

Brittany Keeperman was a Northwest Herald reporter from 2016-19