‘Community response overwhelming’ for slain McHenry County officer

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner. (Photo courtesy of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department)

Dozens of law enforcement and emergency response vehicles led a March 8 procession escorting the body of slain McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner from the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office to the De Fiore-Jorgensen Funeral Home on Dundee Road in Huntley, where funeral services are expected to be held the week of March 11.

McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandra Rogers, of the McHenry County Sheriff’s office, said a visitation will be March 12, at the DeFiore Funeral Home, 10763 Dundee Road in Huntley. Public viewing is from 2-6 p.m., with a formal law enforcement walk-through at 6 p.m.

The funeral will take place at 10 a.m. March 13 at Woodstock High School, 3000 Raffle Road in Woodstock, beginning at 10 a.m.

The Marengo Fire Protection District joined with their Union-based and Harvard counterparts in lining the overpasses of the I-90 Jane Addams Tollway, from Shattuck Road in Boone County to Route 47 in Huntley, before turning on Dundee Road. Keltner was slain March 7 in Rockford, while serving a warrant as part of a contingent with the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force.

“We were there about 90 minutes, it was a great tribute and sendoff … well-deserved,” said John Kimmel, the Marengo District’s assistant fire chief. “The community’s response was overwhelming and says so much about McHenry County residents. What goes unsung and untold is something important. Law enforcement gets a bad rap these days, and they are out there, fulfilling their civic duty in serving the people.

“The procession was humbling and fitting … it was an honor for our fire protection district to be included, and along with the other fire protection districts, part of it,” he said. “We have received no details regarding the services.”

Floyd Brown, 39, of Springfield, could face first-degree murder charges when he is brought to Winnebago County and the Northern District U.S. court in Rockford, according to authorities.

A makeshift memorial outside of the Rock Valley Garden Center on Bell School Road in Rockford honors slain police officer Jacob Keltner. (Photo by Lynne Conner/for Chronicle Media)

Brown was not transferred to Winnebago County to face arraignment and remains hospitalized in central Illinois as of Saturday. He is recovering from injuries received when his vehicle crashed into a culvert at the Lincoln-Lawndale exit in McLean County. Illinois State Police blocked his vehicle on I-55 and hit it to prevent his progress. He barricaded himself for six hours, pointing a rifle, before surrendering.

Because Keltner was assigned to the U.S. Marshals’ Great Lake Fugitive Task Force, Brown can face federal murder charges.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite upgraded his state charge from attempted murder to murder, when the deputy died of a head wound, and if guilty would serve mandatory life in prison.

Keltner was with the task force to serve a warrant on Brown, who was wanted by several downstate counties for various crimes and a parole violation. Law enforcement had surrounded the Rockford Extended Stay Motel, when Brown fled through a third-story window, and allegedly began firing a rifle at officers.

Keltner was shot in the motel parking lot, and suffered a head wound. He died in Rockford Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital at approximately 3:30 p.m., after his family arrived. Keltner leaves behind a wife and two children.

McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said, in a statement, “He was well-respected, and will be sorely missed.”

Makeshift memorials have been erected with flowers, cards, candles, and other tributes at the Woodstock government center of the sheriff’s department as well as in Rockford.

RELATED: Rockford shooting suspect surrenders to police

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