Inmate Killed in Hospital Hostage Standoff Had Eaten Piece of His Shoe: State's Attorney

Negotiations were ongoing through the incident, officials said, but ultimately failed

The inmate shot and killed by a SWAT officer at a suburban hospital Saturday was transported to the medical facility for surgery after eating part of his plastic, jail-issued sandal, the Kane County State’s Attorney said Monday.

Tywon Salters, 21, of Chicago, was taken from the Kane County Jail by ambulance on May 8 to Delnor Hospital in Geneva about 5:40 p.m., the state’s attorney said. After undergoing surgery to remove the plastic from his stomach, Salters was recovering while awaiting a court appearance set for May 17 at the Kane County Judicial Center. He had been charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Salters managed to grab the handgun of the Kane County corrections officer assigned to his third-floor hospital room, the state’s attorney’s office said. He took a nurse hostage, sparking a standoff that lasted hours.

The corrections officer had not yet been interviewed by investigators as of Monday afternoon, according to the Aurora Beacon-News.

"We really don't know what happened in the room," Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler told the newspaper.

The hospital was placed on lockdown and some patients were evacuated, officials said. After releasing his first hostage, Salters took a second nurse hostage, the state’s attorney’s office said, and moved to the first floor of the hospital.

Negotiations were ongoing through the incident, officials said, but ultimately failed.

A SWAT team entered the area where Salters held his hostage about 4 p.m. and one of the officers shot him, the state’s attorney’s office said. One of the SWAT officers was also shot in the vest but was uninjured, officials said.

"The SWAT team made the decision to make entry into the room. One of the SWAT team operators did discharge his firearm, striking the inmate and killing him," Gengler told reporters at the time.

Salters received immediate medical attention but died within minutes, according to the state’s attorney’s office. The hostage was removed and also given medical attention.

Salters cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the Kane County coroner.

The weapon Salters allegedly took from the corrections officer was recovered at the scene, state police said.

“There are many questions to be answered about this incident. I expect that these reviews will be thorough and will provide as complete a picture as possible of what occurred inside Delnor Hospital on May 13,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement. “When we get those answers, and after we are able to fully examine the investigation, we will share as much as we lawfully can with the public. In the meantime, please understand that it will not be beneficial to the pursuit of justice for us to reveal information piecemeal. Doing so could potentially compromise the integrity of the important work that lies ahead.”

Illinois State Police officials are investigating the SWAT officer’s use of deadly force. The Kane County State’s Attorney will review the ISP report to rule on whether or not the use of force was justified.

Both the SWAT officer who fired the shot that killed Salters and the corrections officer who was disarmed were placed on paid administrative leave, per protocol.

Gengler told the Beacon-News the corrections officer’s placement was a formality.

"The officer had his weapon taken and that weapon was used (to hold someone) hostage," he told the newspaper. "To expect that person to come back to work is completely unrealistic."

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a review of its policies, procedures and protocol involving the transport of detainees and how they are guarded when outside the jail.

The overall investigation into the incident is ongoing, the state’s attorney’s office said.

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