Dixon man accused of shooting 3 Ogle County deputies will remain in jail

Jonathan Gounaris, June 2024

OREGON – For the second time in less than a week, an Ogle County judge has denied a rural Dixon man’s request to be released from jail as he faces charges of attempted murder in the shooting of three police officers during a June 12 incident at his home.

Jonathon Gounaris, 32, is charged with 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.

Police allege that he shot three members of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team after a three-hour standoff when police tried to enter his 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 Deputy Lt. Jason Ketter was shot in the face and taken by air ambulance to OSF Medical Center in Rockford, where he underwent surgery. He was released from the hospital June 14.

Sgt. Tad Dominski of the Oregon Police Department was shot in the arm, and Tyler Carls of the Rochelle Fire Department was shot in the torso during the afternoon incident. They were treated at KSB Hospital in Dixon and released later that evening.

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

To view body camera footage of the shootings, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zEhLBrcn0g.

Gounaris also was shot during the gunfire exchange and was taken to KSB Hospital in Dixon, where he was treated before being booked into the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford on June 18.

On June 20, Gounaris made his first court appearance for a detention hearing, where a judge decides whether a defendant can be released from custody based on information presented by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Judge Anthony Peska denied Gounaris’ request to be released from custody after hearing arguments from Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Leisten and Ogle County Public Defender William Gibbs.

Peska said Leisten had presented “clear and convincing evidence” that the crimes had occurred, noting that Gounaris faces multiple attempted murder charges.

Peska said family members and law enforcement officers could be in danger if he were to be released.

On Wednesday, Gounaris appeared before Judge John Redington, and Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Kruse again asked that Gounaris be kept in custody.

Wearing handcuffs, leg irons and a jumpsuit issued to inmates, he was escorted by two Winnebago County corrections officers and Ogle County court deputies.

Kruse said Gounaris’ mother had called the sheriff’s office on the morning of June 12 and told authorities that her son had made suicidal and homicidal comments and had access to two guns. The mother left the home and waited with a deputy at the west gate of the subdivision as police were called to the home, police said.

“She could not handle this situation on her own,” Kruse told the court. “She said he would kill anyone who wanted to talk to him.”

At the June 20 hearing, Leisten said the mother told authorities that her son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and, in general, hated police. She also said her son recently had been stalking a woman in Wood Dale whom he had become obsessed with and had sent that woman’s mother a photo of him holding a gun to his head.

The state also alleges that when officers entered the home after the exchange of gunfire, Gounaris was found lying on the living room floor wearing body armor with a handgun, pepper spray and knife in close proximity.

“He told the officers, ‘Thank you, thank you. You got me good,’” Leisten said during the June 20 hearing.

Kruse reiterated similar information Wednesday.

“[Gounaris] left very disturbing messages,” said Kruse, adding that police had tried to talk to Gounaris but received no answer to 75 phone calls they made before attempting to enter the home.

But Gibbs questioned the state’s interpretation of what they claim the mother told police.

“It’s not entirely accurate,” Gibbs said. “He was evaluated at KSB, and he is in need of treatment at this point in time.”

Gibbs again asked the court to release Gounaris.

“He has family in McHenry County he could stay with,” Gibbs said. “Releasing him for treatment would be helpful. We believe conditions could be set to mitigate any risk.”

Kruse disagreed.

“He is an absolute, real and present threat,” she argued, “to the woman in Wood Dale, to the public of Ogle County. This is an active specific threat that he acted on. He is unstable. There is no condition that could keep everyone safe.”

Redington agreed and remanded Gounaris back to the Winnebago County Jail. He set Gounaris’ preliminary hearing for 10 a.m. July 10.

Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock said attempted first-degree murder is a Class X felony punishable by a special sentence of 20 to 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 to 45 years in prison followed by three years of mandatory supervised release.

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

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

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