State

Dash-cam footage collected in Rock Falls fatal officer-involved shooting

Autopsy being scheduled; name of driver not yet released

Officers work at the scene of a shooting Friday night on Franklin Street in Rock Falls.
Officers work at the scene of a shooting Friday night on Franklin Street in Rock Falls.

ROCK FALLS – Dash-cam footage from at least three squad cars is among the evidence collected by the Illinois State Police in Friday's officer-involved shooting death of an unidentified driver.

The man was the sole occupant of the white Cadillac that police were attempting to pull over around 7:45 p.m., ISP Lt. Chris Endress, who is overseeing the investigation, said this morning.

An autopsy is being scheduled, likely for Monday.

The identity of the man, who was black, has not yet been released. Endress did not yet know why the traffic stop was being attempted.

The officer involved is white and a 10-year veteran of the force, Rock Falls Police Chief Tammy Nelson said this morning.

As is protocol, he is on paid administrative leave while the investigation progresses, she said.

The ISP Integrity Task Force is investigating, which also is protocol: Whenever deadly force is used, an outside agency is called in to investigate.

Because of the newness of the investigation, Endress declined to comment on whether the man had a weapon, how many times he was shot or whether he was inside or out of the car at the time.

Officers performed CPR and other life-saving measures at the scene, but the man was pronounced dead at CGH Medical Center.

His car has been impounded and will be processed for evidence once a search warrant is obtained, Endress said.

In addition to processing the crime scene, officers spent a good deal of time canvassing the neighborhood Friday night, an effort that continues today, Endress said.

"We have processed the crime scene, collected evidence from the involved officer, we have met with the family of the deceased and explained the investigative process, to help them get through that, the autopsy is being scheduled through the coroner's office and we've collected dash cam footage from at least three squad cars at the scene," Endress said. "We're still canvassing the neighborhood, and there are search warrants to obtain.

"We've got to do everything we can to be as thorough as possible, and get this investigation done as timely as possible, so the community can have closure. It takes time."

According to a brief news release from Rock Falls police sent around 1:30 this morning, officers followed the driver, who was eastbound on Dixon Avenue, to the 1300 block of Franklin Street, where the shooting occurred.

"The information thus far indicates that the officers acted appropriately," the release said. "Our thoughts are with the officers involved and their families, and the family of the decedent."

The last officer-involved shooting in Rock Falls was on Sept. 1, 2016, when Corey G. Poff Jr., 24, struck the front passenger side of a squad car driven by officer Nicholas Neblung, disabling it, and Neblung, fearing he was about to be run over, fired twice at the rear of the SUV, according to court records.

Poff was sentenced in March to 2 years for aggravated fleeing and criminal damage to government property.

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