Rural Dixon man charged with attempted first-degree murder following June 12 shootout with police

Lt. Jason Ketter is saluted as he leaves OSF Medical Center in Rockford on Friday, June 14, 2024. Ketter walked out with family and Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle. Ketter was shot in the line of duty two days earlier in Lost Nation, near Dixon.

OREGON – A rural Dixon man who police say shot three members of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team on June 12 has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and several weapons offenses.

The 12-count trial information filed against Jonathon Gounaris, 32, was announced by Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock late Tuesday afternoon.

Gounaris is facing four counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, three counts of aggravated battery and two counts of possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, according to court documents.

“On June 12, members of Ogle County law enforcement responded to a home in Lost Nation after a report of someone threatening to commit suicide,” according to a news release issued by Rock. “When police entered the home, three members of law enforcement were shot as well as the defendant. The Illinois State Police conducted an investigation which was reviewed by the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s Office.”

Attempted first-degree murder is a Class X felony, punishable by a special sentence of 20-80 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by three years of mandatory supervised release. Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a Class X felony, punishable by a special sentence of 10-45 years in prison followed by 3 years of mandatory supervised release, according to the release.

Aggravated battery is also a Class X felony, punishable by 15-60 years in prison, and possession of a firearm without a FOID card is a Class 3 felony punishable by a sentence of 2-5 years in prison.

Gounaris is being held in the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford and is scheduled to appear in Ogle County Court in Oregon on Thursday, June 20.

Police allege he was armed with two handguns when he shot three members of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team after police were called by a family member to a home in the 400 block of Wild Rice Lane in Lost Lake, a rural subdivision east of Dixon, commonly referred to as Lost Nation.

Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said his department received the call at 8:39 a.m. from the family member, who warned police it could be a “suicide-by-cop” situation. VanVickle said Gounaris had threatened suicide and homicide.

After a three-hour standoff, three deputies and Gounaris were shot when exchanging gunfire. Lt. Jason Ketter was shot in the face and taken by air ambulance to OSF Medical Centger in Rockford, where he underwent surgery. He walked out of OSF’s main entrance Friday night after being released from the hospital as officers from multiple departments stood in salute and then escorted him to his home in rural Ogle County.

The other two injured officers – Sgt. Tad Dominski of the Oregon Police Department and Tyler Carls of the Rochelle Fire Department – were treated at KSB Hospital in Dixon and released later Wednesday evening, VanVickle told Shaw Local.

The ERT is made up of individuals from different agencies, including the sheriff’s office, Oregon and Byron police departments, and SWAT medics from the Rochelle Fire Department.

VanVickle said ERT officers entered the home after Gounaris failed to respond to negotiators’ 50 phone calls.

“At 11:51 a.m., due to the lack of communication, it was determined that our ERT would enter the house and determine the well-being of that individual,” VanVickle said. “Immediately upon entering the house, our deputies received fire from inside the house. Three deputies were struck by gunfire and transported to local hospitals. The suspect was also struck by gunfire and transported to a local hospital.”

The suspect was armed with two handguns, a knife and pepper spray and was wearing what appeared to be body armor when he charged at police, VanVickle said.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.

Payton Felix

Payton Felix

Payton Felix reports on local news in the Sauk Valley for the Shaw Local News Network. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2023.