The suspect in a string of central Illinois burglaries was arrested Thursday after allegedly killing a sheriff's deputy in Rockford and leading police on a multicounty chase that ended with a six-hour standoff near Lincoln.
Authorities say Floyd E. Brown, 39, opened fire Thursday morning as the U.S. Marshals Service tried to serve arrest warrants on him—including one from McLean County—at a Rockford hotel. McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner, who was assigned to the U.S. Marshals, was shot and later died from his injuries, police said. A female acquaintance of Brown was also wounded by gunfire, apparently shot by Brown himself, police said. She was treated at a hospital and released.
Illinois State Police say Brown, reportedly armed with an AK-47, fled south on Interstate 39 toward Bloomington-Normal. He displayed a rifle and was driving over 100 mph with officers in pursuit, police said.
Three Unit 5 schools (Normal West, Parkside Junior High, and Parkside Elementary) were briefly put on "lockout" for less than 5 minutes, the school district said. A lockout means people cannot go in and out of the buildings but students proceed with their day as scheduled.
"This was precautionary and had nothing to do with anything going on in the schools," Unit 5 said on Facebook.
As Brown headed south on Interstate 55 near Lincoln, police bumped his vehicle and he went into the ditch, authorities said. He barricaded himself in the vehicle for six hours until being arrested without incident around 5 p.m., police said. Interstate 55 was closed down in both directions before re-opening around 7 p.m.
Brown has been charged with first-degree murder in Keltner's death.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker sent a tweet expressing condolences to the deputy's family members.
"All of Illinois grieves for the fallen," Pritzker said at a Springfield press conference. "And our prayers are with the families of those who've been injured in the line of duty and the families of those that we've lost. We owe all of them a debt of gratitude."
State Police Acting Director Brendan F. Kelly also offered his condolences to Keltner's family.
"ISP’s SWAT team in particular showed incredible tactical restraint, bravery and boldness today," Kelly said in a statement. "This dark day has come to an end, and this defendant can now be brought to justice."
Brown was wanted on warrants out of McLean, Sangamon, and Sangamon counties, authorities said. He was also wanted for alleged parole violation.
Bloomington Police have been looking for Brown since at least December, when he allegedly caused a high-speed crash while fleeing police on Veterans Parkway. Bloomington Police say he was a suspect in "numerous central Illinois burglaries in 2018," including in Bloomington. He fled that December crash on foot and was never found—until Thursday.
At the time, police said Brown had “no known connections to Bloomington-Normal" and was likely trying to find a way back to his residence in Springfield.
"Chief (Clay) Wheeler and the rest of the Bloomington Police Department would like to give our sincerest thoughts and prayers to the wounded officer from McHenry County sheriff's office," BPD said in a statement. "We also would like to thank all of the jurisdictions who helped and are currently investigating this incident."
A Bloomington Police spokesperson declined to say how many local burglaries Brown is suspected in.
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