Kane County Deeply Affected By Shooting Death of McHenry Deputy
Kane County law enforcers and the community as a whole are grieving today for McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner, who was shot and killed Thursday as he was serving an arrest warrant to a fugitive holding up in a Rockford hotel.
According to the Chicago Tribune and other media reports, Keltner was working with a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force to serve an arrest warrant on Floyd E. Brown, 39, at the Extended Stay America in Rockford.
Brown jumped through a third-story window, shot Keltner in the parking lot, then sped away in his car, leading authorities on a high-speed chase that resulted in the lockdown of several District 300 schools, a high-speed 160-mile journey down Interstate 55 and ultimately Brown’s capture near the city of Lincoln in downstate Illinois.
Law Enforcers Mourn
Keltner’s death comes as another blow to law enforcers in Kane County, the state of Illinois and the nation, who have been literally under fire in recent weeks, from the Feb. 15 mass shooting in Aurora in which five officers were shot and wounded to the recent deaths of officers in Texas and Tennessee, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Deputy Keltner’s family and friends, as well as his colleagues at the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Office,” Huntley Police Department said via Facebook. “Deputy Keltner was a good man who will be missed greatly. We are here to support you in any way we can.”
“The Elgin Police Department extends our deepest sympathies to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office as they mourn the loss of Deputy Jacob Keltner. We are thinking of all of his coworkers, his family and his friends during this difficult time.”
District 300 Briefly Locked Down
For students in School District 300, Thursday’s events offered a bit of a scare.
Gilberts Elementary Schools, Hampshire Elementary School, Hampshire Middle School, Hampshire High School and Wright Elementary School were briefly locked down as a precaution around 11:25 a.m., when school officials learned that a suspect in the Rockford area was involved in an incident and has fled the scene.
McHenry County’s Sadness
For members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, the loss was devastating.
“It is with great sadness I announce today the passing away of Deputy Sheriff Jacob Keltner, who was shot this morning in the line of duty and subsequently died in the hospital,” McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said.
“For those of us in the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, this is bitter news. Deputy Keltner was an integral part of our office, someone who had risen quickly to greater responsibilities after he was first sworn in in 2006. He was loved and respected by all his colleagues, and he will be sorely missed.”
Keltner had been with the department for 13 years.
How It Happened
According to police, Sheriff’s Office, court documents and multiple media reports, members the fugitive task force knocked on the door of the Extended Stay America in Rockford at around 9:15 a.m. Thursday with the intent to serve a warrant on Brown, who was on parole and wanted on warrants out of Champaign, McLean and Sangamon counties.
Brown apparently used a high-power rifle to shoot his girlfriend, who was with him in the room, and to fire through the door at police. He then jumped out of the third-story window, and encountered Keltner, who was positioned outside.
Brown shot Keltner in the head and sped away in a Grand Marquis.
Keltner was rushed to a hospital in critical condition and died about six hours later.
Illinois State Police spotted Brown north of Bloomington. At around 11:15 a.m., a trooper rammed Brown’s car, and the Grand Maquis crashed in a ditch off Interstate 55 near Lincoln.
Brown gave up about six hours later, reports said.
Keltner’s body was escorted in a procession Thursday night to the Winnebago County Coroner’s office.
Tens of police and emergency vehicles joined the procession, while scores of people lined the streets to pay their respects to a fallen hero.
“I have every confidence that the people of McHenry County will come together as a community to mourn this fine young man and support his family and colleagues through this difficult time,” Prim said.