Red and blue lights flashed for miles in Rockford Thursday night as police officers and firefighters from across the region took part in a procession across the city. They accompanied the body of a McHenry County Deputy Sheriff from the hospital where he died to the coroner’s office.
McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Jacob Keltner died Thursday afternoon, several hours after he was shot in the parking lot of an extended stay hotel in Rockford. Keltner was working with a U.S. Marshals Service task force. They were there to serve a warrant on 39-year-old Floyd Brown of Springfield. Police say Brown shot Keltner, then fled in his car. He was arrested hours later after a roadside standoff with Illinois State Police near Lincoln, Ill.
Deputy Keltner is being remembered as a “fine young man” who came from a family of dedicated public servants. His brother is with the DuPage County Sheriff’s Department, where his father also served and retired. Keltner had already worked for more than 12 years at the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department. He was 35, a husband, and the father of two young children.
At a news conference Thursday evening in Rockford, McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim remembered Keltner as “dedicated and hard-working. He comes from a long line of service. He’s a dedicated guy. He’s a dedicated family man. And he’s just truly going to be missed.” Prim thanked Rockford Police and the community for their support through the difficult day.
Condolences for Keltner’s family and fellow officers poured in Thursday from other law enforcement agencies and elected officials. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, "The people of Illinois join the family of the fallen officer in mourning his loss, and with our deepest gratitude for his courageous service."
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) released a statement saying, “My heart aches for the McHenry County Sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed this morning – and I join the community of Rockford and all Americans to pray for him and his family. As the wife of a sheriff, I know today is the nightmare any family of a law enforcement officer fears and the phone call one prays they never have to pick up. Our brave law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for our communities, and I want to thank the first responders who were at the scene today.”