Sheriff: Rural Dixon resident shoots 3 deputies after barricading himself in home at Lost Lake

Two deputies were treated at a local hospital and released; one deputy and the alleged shooter were undergoing surgery late Wednesday afternoon

Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle addresses the media Wednesday, June 12, 2024 after three deputies were injured in a shootout.

DIXON – A rural Dixon resident armed with two handguns shot three members of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team on Wednesday afternoon after police were called to his home by a family member, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said.

Police were called at 8:39 a.m. Wednesday to the 400 block of Wild Rice Lane in Lost Lake, a rural subdivision east of Dixon. The family member who called police warned them that it could be a “suicide-by-cop” situation, VanVickle said. The individual, who VanVickle later identified as Jonathon G. Gounaris, had threatened suicide and homicide, VanVickle told Shaw Local.

After a three-hour standoff, three deputies as well as the home’s resident were shot when exchanging gunfire. One deputy and the shooter were undergoing surgery as of late Wednesday evening; two other deputies had been treated at KSB Hospital in Dixon and released.

All three deputies are members of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office’s Emergency Response Team. 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.

Officers arrived at the scene about 9 a.m. The ERT was called at 9:18 a.m.

“It was quickly determined that our Emergency Response Team would be activated,” VanVickle said.

At 10:40 a.m., hostage negotiators placed the first call to the suspect’s cellphone. A total of 50 phone calls were made to the residence with no answer, VanVickle said. Additional resources were brought in to assist at the scene at 11:09 a.m.

“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.

“Two officers were taken by ground transport to KSB, where they were treated and released. One was flown to OSF and is currently in surgery,” VanVickle said Wednesday evening.

The suspect, who was in the residence by himself, also was shot and taken to KSB, where he was undergoing surgery, VanVickle said.

Charges are pending after a review by the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s Office, VanVickle said. A search of the home is part of the investigation, he said.

“This was a really, really bad situation,” VanVickle said.

After finding the suspect barricaded inside the door, the deputies were ambushed, VanVickle said. All their training goes into this to “make sure everyone goes home,” he said.

Cheri Kemp, a longtime resident of Lost Lake, was gardening Wednesday afternoon when she heard an “explosion,” she said in an interview with Shaw Local.

Kemp’s garden was about 400 yards away from the home on Wild Rice Lane. Hearing what sounded like shooting, Kemp described seeing officers in SWAT gear surrounding the residence.

“You see this stuff on the news,” Kemp said, adding that this “doesn’t happen here.”

It’s a very peaceful community, she said, but “you have no clue what’s going on inside someone’s home.”

VanVickle said that because the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office is a small rural agency, “we used all the resources we had today.”

The Ogle County ERT was assisted at the scene by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, the Dixon Rural Fire Department, the Dixon City Fire Department, the Oregon Fire Department, the Mount Morris Fire Department, the Polo Fire Department and helicopter resources from REACT of Rockford and OSF Life Flight.

Illinois State Police will handle the investigation into the shooting, VanVickle said.

Have a Question about this article?
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.