A Bradley police sergeant “desperately begged for his life” moments before a gunman shot him down with the officer’s own weapon, Kankakee County prosecutors said on Monday.
Kankakee County State Attorney Jim Rowe seeks life sentences for Darius Sullivan, 25, and Xandria Harris, 26, who face a litany of felony charges during the hotel shootout last week that killed Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and seriously injured her partner. He is pushing for federal murder charges to be laid against the two and for federal prosecutors to prosecute the death penalty.
Wednesday’s incident took place around 9:56 p.m., when Rittmanic and his partner Constable Tyler Bailey responded to a noise complaint about barking dogs in a car parked outside the Comfort Inn in the 1500 block of North State Highway 50, Rowe said at Harris’ bail hearing on Monday.
When Bailey discovered that the car had belonged to Harris – whom he knows as an acquaintance of Sullivan – the officer met Rittmanic in the hotel lobby and asked an employee if there were any rooms under the names of “Xandria Harris” or “Darius Sullivan,” Rowe said.
The hotel clerk sent officers to room 308, which had been reserved by Sullivan, who was wanted on pending warrants for failing to appear in court and had previously fled from Bradley’s agents who had attempted to hold him under warrants, Rowe said.
Agents did not receive a response from the room after their initial hit at around 10:13 p.m. About a minute later, officers knocked again – this time with Bailey saying aloud, “This is the police department” and asking Harris to come out of the room to respond to the noisy dog complaint, Rowe said. Harris would have answered “Yes” and indicated that she would be leaving the room.
Officers knocked on the door at least three more times over the span of several minutes, telling Harris to come out, Rowe said. Each time, she responded by saying that she was coming.
After about 14 minutes of waiting, Harris attempted to sneak through the door and allegedly shut it in an attempt to prevent officers from taking Sullivan into custody.
Rittmanic and his partner have both repeatedly asked Harris to stop blocking the door, Rowe said. Eventually, Sullivan arrived around the corner in the hotel room armed with a 9mm handgun fitted with a drum clamp, prosecutors said.
As Harris struggled with the officers, Sullivan pointed the gun and shot Bailey in the head, Rowe said. He then allegedly turned the gun at Rittmanic and shot her as she tried to escape.
Sullivan allegedly chased Rittmanic down the hall before pinning her against a door. Sullivan struggled to unlock his weapon using his right hand and mouth while trying to disarm Rittmanic with his left hand, Rowe said.
As the brawl ensued, Sullivan called Harris, telling him to “cock the gun, cock the gun,” prosecutors said. Harris joined Sullivan, helping him successfully disarm Rittmanic.
The two then stood over Rittmanic, pointing guns at her as she lay on the floor, already shot once, Rowe said. She begged Sullivan not to shoot her.
“Sgt. Rittmanic would beg them to tell them, “Go away, you don’t have to do this, please, go, please don’t, please don’t,” Rowe said. “She was desperate to plead for her life.”
With Harris holding Sullivan’s gun, Sullivan reportedly fired two shots of what prosecutors believe was Rittmanic’s gun, hitting the sergeant in the neck area.
After the shooting, Harris handed the keys to Sullivan and said, “You have to go,” Rowe said. Sullivan fled into the hotel stairwell before leaving in a vehicle. Meanwhile, Harris retreated to the hotel room, where she gathered her things and picked up her two children, who were in the room at the time, before running away, Rowe said. .
Rittmanic, 49, and Bailey, 27, were taken to hospitals in critical condition, and Rittmanic later died, police said. Bailey remained hospitalized on Monday and “is fighting for his life,” Rowe said.
Sullivan was arrested without incident around 9 a.m. by the US Marshals Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force after leaving a home in North Manchester, Indiana, a town about 35 miles west of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He remains in custody in Indiana as Kankakee County prosecutors await a warrant from the governor to extradite him to Illinois.
Harris, accompanied by her lawyer, attended the Bradley Police Department approximately seven hours after Sullivan’s arrest.
During his bail hearing, Rowe said Harris “actively aided and empowered Darius Sullivan throughout the murder of Sgt. Rittmanic and [attempted] murder of Officer Bailey, and she’s also responsible.
Harris was denied bail.