BRADLEY, Illinois- The Kankakee County State’s Attorney says a police officer fatally shot on Dec. 30 pleaded for her life before she was shot dead – and her partner severely injured.
State’s Attorney Jim Rowe is asking federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty against the suspects, Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris, even though Illinois is not a state that carries out executions.
According to the Bradley Police Department: On Wednesday, December 29thth, 2021, at approximately 21:41 hrs. the Bradley Police Department responded to the Comfort Inn 1500 north State Route 50, for reported dogs barking in an unattended vehicle which was parked in the parking lot. Upon arrival officers located a vehicle and a room inside the hotel where the possible owner of the vehicle was staying. Officers initiated conversation with the subjects in the room and while during conversation the officers were attacked by the subjects occupying the room, whereas both officers were shot.
Sergeant Marlene R. Rittmanic, 49, and Officer Tyler J. Bailey, 27, sustained serious injuries after being struck by gunfire and were transported to area hospitals for treatment. Sergeant Rittmanic later succumbed to her injuries. Officer Bailey remains in critical condition at the hospital.
Rowe said Bailey was shot in the head by Sullivan who was armed with a 9mm handgun equipped with a drum magazine. After the initial gunfire, Sullivan chased Rittmanic down the hallway, the prosecutor said. As he was trying to un-jam his handgun, he was simultaneously trying to disarm Rittmanic.
“As the scuffle ensued, Sullivan called out to Harris, telling her to ‘cock the gun, cock the gun,’ prosecutors said, according to CBS Chicago. “Harris joined Sullivan, helping him successfully disarm Rittmanic. The two then stood over Rittmanic pointing guns at her as she laid on the floor, already shot once.”
“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,’” said Prosecutor Rowe. She was desperately pleading for her life.”
Rowe has submitted an official request to the United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois and to the United States Attorney General to review the first degree murder cases pending against Sullivan and Harris for federal murder charges, and to pursue a federal sentence of death against both defendants. Illinois is not a death penalty state, but under these circumstances the United States Attorney General can authorize the filing of a petition to seek the death penalty in a federal murder case. Additionally, the State’s Attorney’s Office has also filed state charges against Sullivan and Harris for first degree murder of a police officer, and attempt first degree murder of a police officer, among other charges. The State charges will proceed in the Kankakee County Courthouse and the State’s Attorney will seek life sentences for both offenders.
Also arrested during the course of the investigation were Darius Sullivans’ mother, Nichele Newton-Caroll, and his brother, Jalmen Sullivan. Allegations against these individuals include obstruction of justice for making false statements to law enforcement, and harboring a fugitive to aid in his escape, respectively. Newton-Caroll is alleged to have made false statements to law enforcement during an interview that occurred in Demotte, Indiana, which ultimately places the jurisdiction for those charges in the hands of the Newton County, Indiana prosecutor’s office.
“While the law does not allow me to prosecute Nichele Newton-Caroll or Jalman Sullivan in an Illinois courtroom for violating Indiana law, I am asking the Indiana prosecutors who have that authority to exercise it to the fullest extent, and offering the full resources and assistance of our State’s Attorney’s Office to them in that effort. I am also requesting that the United States Attorney file federal murder charges against Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris and seek a punishment of death. There is recent precedent for the United States pursuing the death penalty for the murder of a law enforcement officer (US v. Stephen Wiggins, Middle District of Tennessee, 2018); and precedent for pursuing a federal sentence of death in non-death penalty states (US v. Brent Christensen, Central District of Illinois, 2018). That clear precedent and the nature of the offenses in this case give me hope that our US Attorney will pursue a death sentence in these matters. For our part, we will prosecute Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris and seek a sentence of life in prison”, said State’s Attorney Rowe. “Our community’s prayers are with the Bradley Police Department family, with the family of Sgt. Rittmanic and with Ofc. Bailey and his family as he continues to fight for his life. This is the darkest reminder of the danger that our law enforcement and first responders face on a daily basis, in every community across this globe, every single time they put on the uniform. Please keep them all lifted in prayers and support.
Sullivan and Harris will now face justice for these heinous crimes thanks to the quick work of all local law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, first responders, Dispatchers, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department and Coroner’s Office, US Marshals, KAMEG, Illinois State Police, countless Indiana law enforcement departments, and the willing cooperation of civilians. 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.”
As it currently stands, Xandria faces three counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Attempt First Degree Murder. The State’s Petition to Deny Bail to the Defendant was granted by the Court earlier today, and Harris remains in custody of the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department without bond. Darius Sullivan is charged with six counts of First Degree Murder, two counts of Attempt First Degree Murder and one charge of Aggravated Battery with a firearm. Darius Sullivan remains in the custody of Indiana law enforcement.