Bradley police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and her partner responded to a call Wednesday night of dogs barking in an unattended car in the parking lot at the Comfort Inn off of Route 50, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office said. They went to the hotel room where the car’s owner was staying when police say the people inside the room began attacking the two officers, shooting them.
Rittmanic, 49, was killed, and her partner, 27-year-old Tyler Bailey, was badly hurt. Bailey was transported to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, where he underwent surgery for severe head injuries, and remained in very critical condition Thursday at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
The sheriff’s office is now offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of 25-year-old Darius D. Sullivan, of Bourbonnais.
Sullivan should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be confronted, police said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Sullivan and 26-year-old Xandria Harris of Bradley, according to Illinois State Police. Harris is believed to have been in the room with Sullivan.
Anyone with information about the suspects is urged to call the Illinois State Police Hotline at 815-698-2315. Tipsters can also remain anonymous by calling that number or CrimeStoppers at (815) 93-CRIME.
“Please keep the officers, their families and the Bradley Police Department in your thoughts and prayers,” the sheriff’s office said.
The Kankakee County community is now coming together to grieve and find strength in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.
“My son’s a Bradley police officer and he was supposed to be on shift last night, and he took his last vacation day,” Jackie Hammond said. “So we are grateful, but again, it’s bittersweet.”
The incident appeared to have been isolated, and police believe there is no further threat to the community.
WATCH | Community honors Bradley police sergeant killed in line of duty
Friends and community members grieved the loss as local residents hung blue ribbons and signs around town thanking the sergeant for her sacrifice. Purple bunting adorned the Bradley police station as the flag outside flew at half-mast.
“Just to remember the best cop ever with Bradley PD,” Jacqueline Jackson said, holding a homemade sign.
Hundreds of people lined up in silence to honor Rittmanic during a procession that went through the communities of Bradley, Kankakee and Bourbonnais.
“We never think much about these guys running around taking care of us until this happens, but I’m just glad to see the turnout and support,” said Doug Brown, who came to pay his respects.
“The people that are here to protect us have been taken from us, and it’s just not right,” Carol Chapman added.
Rittmanic first became an officer in 2000 with the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department. She had been with the Bradley Police Department for 14 years, and her niece said she was just five years away from retirement. She leaves behind her wife, Lynette Stua.
The last time a law enforcement officer was killed in the line of duty in Kankakee County was 1996.
“We are a community and we’re here for one another through good and bad, but tragedy seems to bring it out of everyone,” Chapman said.
Kankakee Mayor Chris Curtis released a statement on the incident on Facebook, saying:
Our hearts are heavy and filled with sorrow for our neighboring City and their police department. On behalf of the City of Kankakee we offer our prayers to the family, friends and coworkers of the fallen Bradley police officer. We also provide continuous prayer for the recovery of the other Bradley officer.
“In this difficult time for our region we ask God to provide healing and comfort needed for our communities, all the law enforcement brothers and sisters and the first responders at this difficult time.
“As Mayor of the City of Kankakee, I pledge all of our support and assistance in any way possible that Village of Bradley might need or request.”
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