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 of the Comfort Inn off Route 50, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office said. They went to the hotel room where the owner of the car was staying when police say the people inside the room started attacking the two officers and shot them.
Rittmanic, 49, was killed and her partner, 27-year-old Tyler Bailey, was badly injured. Bailey was transported to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, where he underwent surgery for serious head injuries, and remained in very critical condition Thursday at the Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
The sheriff’s office is now offering a $ 25,000 reward for information leading 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 encouraged to call the Illinois State Police Hotline at 815-698-2315. Tipers can also remain anonymous by calling this number or CrimeStoppers on (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 mourn and find strength in the wake of this terrible tragedy.
“My son is a Bradley police officer and he was supposed to be on shift last night and he was taking his last day off,” Jackie Hammond said. “So we’re grateful, but again, it’s bittersweet.”
The incident appeared to have been isolated and police believe there is no further threat to the community.
SE | The community honors Bradley police sergeant killed during his service
Friends and members of the local community mourned the loss as local residents hung blue ribbons and signs around the city, thanking the sergeant for her victims. Purple bunting adorned Bradley police station as the flag outside flew at half-staff.
“Just to remember the best cop ever with Bradley PD,” Jacqueline Jackson said with a homemade sign.
Hundreds of people lined up in silence to honor Rittmanic during a procession that passed through the communities of Bradley, Kankakee and Bourbonnais.
“We never think much about these guys running around and taking care of us before it happens, but I’m just happy to see the turnout and the support,” said Doug Brown, who came to show his respect.
“The people who are here to protect us have been taken from us and that’s just not right,” Carol Chapman added.
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Rittmanic first became an officer in 2000 with the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department. She had been in the Bradley Police Department for 14 years and her niece said she was only five years away from retirement. She leaves behind her wife, Lynette Stua.
The last time a law enforcer was killed during his service in Kankakee County was in 1996.
“We are a community and we are here for each other for better or worse, but tragedy seems to bring it out of everyone,” Chapman said.
Kankakee Mayor Chris Curtis posted a statement about the incident on Facebook, saying:
Our hearts are heavy and filled with grief over our neighboring town and their police department. On behalf of the city of Kankakee, we offer our prayers to the family, friends, and colleagues of the fallen Bradley Police Officer. We are also constantly asking for the recovery of the other Bradley officer.
“In this difficult time for our region, we ask God to provide the healing and comfort needed for our communities, all the law enforcement brothers and sisters and the first to respond to this difficult time.
“As Mayor of the City of Kankakee, I promise all our support and assistance in any way that the Village of Bradley may need or request.”
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