Kankakee County

Bradley Officer Killed in Line of Duty at Kankakee County Hotel Honored With Procession

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A police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a call at a Kankakee County hotel this week was honored with a massive procession as dozens of residents lined streets and hundreds of police cars escorted her body to a south suburban funeral home.

Bradley Police Department Sergeant Marlene Rittmanic, 49, was among two officers shot at a Comfort Inn hotel while responding to a report of dogs barking in a vehicle.

She passed away at an area hospital following the shooting and was identified Thursday morning.

"Sergeant Rittmanic laid down her life while protecting the citizens of Bradley," Bradley Police Chief Donald Barber said in a statement. "We are asking the public to respectfully give consideration to the family of Sergeant Rittmanic and the Bradley Police Department while we continue to grieve and work through this tragedy."

Rittmanic, who lived in Kankakee, joined the Bradley Police Department in 2007 and was promoted to sergeant in 2014, said Lt. Philip Trudeau, a department spokesman. She previously spent seven years as a deputy with the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department, he said.

Her death was mourned by officials, residents and fellow officers across the state and marks the second Illinois officer to be killed in the line of duty within 24 hours after a sheriff's deputy was fatally shot while responding to a motorist assist call on a highway in southeastern Illinois, roughly 200 miles (south of Bradley.

"In less than 24 hours we have lost two of the state's finest public servants, both dedicated officers whose murders are a senseless, reprehensible stain on humanity during what should be a season of peace," the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the officers made "the ultimate sacrifice to protect all of us."

"It's a sacrifice no one should have to make," he tweeted.

"Our hearts are heavy and filled with sorrow for our neighboring city and their police department," Kankakee Mayor Chris Curtis tweeted Thursday. "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 pray for the recovery of the other officer."

Rittmanic and a fellow officer were called around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday to the Comfort Inn in the 1500 block of North State Highway 50 for a report of dogs barking in an unattended vehicle in a parking lot of the hotel, according to the Bradley Police Department. Once there, they went to a room where the possible owner of the vehicle was staying.

Barber said the officers were attacked during a conversation with the subjects in the room and both officers were shot.

The officers were taken to nearby hospitals, authorities said. Rittmanic ultimately died and the second officer, identified as 27-year-old Tyler J. Bailey, remained in critical condition, undergoing surgery as of Thursday morning, police said.

"At this time this appears to be an isolated incident and no further threat to the community," Barber wrote in a Facebook post.

Police said an arrest warrant was issued for 25-year-old Darius Sullivan in connection with the shooting. They are also looking for another person of interest believed to be involved in the case.

A $10,000.00 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone who may know information about Sullivan's whereabouts is being asked to call the Illinois State Police Hotline at (815) 698-2315 or calling the Kankakee County Crime Stoppers anonymously at (815) 93-CRIME.

The Kankakee County Sheriff's office warned that Sullivan should be considered armed and dangerous.

Authorities asked residents to "keep Sergeant Rittmanic, the other injured Bradley Police Officer, their families, and all Kankakee County public safety agencies in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time."

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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