An Illinois police officer was shot and killed with her own service weapon as she begged for her life, law enforcement officials told reporters this week.
Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic, 49, was killed by Darius Sullivan, 25, and Xandria Harris, 26, as Rittmanic and her partner were investigating a noise complaint at an inn near Kankakee, Illinois.
“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,’” Jim Rowe, the Kankakee County state’s attorney, told reporters. “She was desperately pleading for her life.”
Investigators arrested Harris and Sullivan after a brief manhunt, and prosecutors are asking federal officials to seek the death penalty. The pair have been charged with first-degree murder of a police officer, and attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.
Rittmanic’s partner, 27-year-old Tyler Bailey, is fighting for his life after being shot in the head by Sullivan.
The incident began when Rittmanic and Bailey were called to a hotel on Dec. 29 to investigate barking dogs that someone had left in a car in the parking lot. When they determined that the car belonged to Harris, they knocked on the door to her room. She refused to open the door for 14 minutes until finally cracking it open and trying to squeeze through and close the door behind her.
Harris, who was pregnant at the time, was trying to keep the officers from entering the room and arresting Sullivan, who had a warrant.
Two of Harris’ children were also in the apartment.
As Harris tried to block the door, Sullivan emerged with a 9mm handgun loaded with a drum magazine, prosecutors said. He fired at both officers, striking Bailey in the head and injuring Rittmanic.
He chased Rittmanic down the hallway and pinned her to the ground. His gun had jammed by this point, and he and Harris managed to grab Rittmanic’s gun. Sullivan shot Rittmanic several more times, and she died that evening.
The pair fled the scene but were apprehended shortly thereafter.
There is no death penalty in Illinois, but Rowe said he’s asking the U.S. Justice Department to review the case. Under federal law, prosecutors can seek the death penalty.
“I will be submitting an official request to the U.S. Attorney General for the Central District of Illinois and to the U.S. Attorney General to review the first degree-murder case pending against Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris for federal murder charges, and pursue a federal sentence of death against both defendants,” Rowe said.