The gunman accused of killing an Illinois cop last week used the cop’s own gun in the fatal shooting after he ignored her pleas to spare her life, prosecutors said.
The Kankakee County State Attorney is now pushing for the death penalty for the alleged shooter and an accomplice in the Dec. 29 hotel shooting that left Bradley police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic dead and her partner Officer Tyler Bailey critically injured.
Darius Sullivan, 25, is accused of using his own gun to shoot Bailey in the head outside of a room at the Comfort Inn, then opening fire on Rittmanic, who was hit but tried to run away.
Sullivan chased Rittmanic down a hall, then disarmed her as he tried to unjam his gun, prosecutors said during a court appearance, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
His friend Xandria Harris, 26, joined in to help get Rittmanic’s gun, then the pair stood over the wounded cop with guns drawn, Kankakee County State Attorney Jim Rowe said.
“Sgt. Rittmanic was pleading with them to, ‘Just leave, you don’t have to do this, please just go, please don’t, please don’t,’ ” Rowe said in court Monday, according to the Sun-Times. “She was desperately pleading for her life.”
Sullivan fired two more shots from what they believe was Rittmanic’s gun, the newspaper reported. The incident was caught on the sergeant’s body camera, according to the Associated Press. All the while, Harris’ two children were inside of the hotel room, according to the report.
The officers had been called to the hotel on a complaint of dogs barking in an unattended car in the parking lot, which belonged to Harris. When they tracked Harris and Sullivan to a room in the hotel, no one opened the door for 14 minutes, according to the report.
Harris finally emerged but blocked the doorway in an effort to protect Sullivan, who later emerged and shot Bailey while Harris tangled with the cops, the Sun-Times said. Sullivan fled, but Harris went back to the room to get her things before leaving. Both were later arrested and charged with multiple counts of first degree murder and attempted murder.
Rowe, the prosecutor, is now calling on the US Department of Justice to pursue a federal murder case with a death penalty sentence for both Harris and Sullivan. Illinois isn’t a death penalty state, but Rowe said in a statement the US attorney general can authorize the filing of a petition in the case.
“Our State’s Attorney’s Office will now work to ensure these offenders face the harshest justice the law allows, no matter the jurisdiction, and to ensure that the full weight of the criminal justice system is brought to bear upon them and anyone who assisted them,” he said in a news release.
Also arrested in the case were Nichele Newton-Caroll and Jalmen Sullivan, Sullivan’s mother and brother. The two are accused of lying to authorities and helping Sullivan flee to Indiana in an attempt to evade arrest, Rowe said.
With Post wires