UPDATE: Deputies Justified in Poplar Grove Shooting

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UPDATE: POPLAR GROVE (WIFR) -- The Boone County deputies involved in an August officer-involved shooting in Poplar Grove has been deemed justified by an Integrity Task Force.

Below is a release from Boone County State's Attorney, Michelle Courier concerning this announcement:

Boone County State’s Attorney Michelle J. Courier has notified Boone County Sheriff Duane Wirth that the use of deadly force by Deputy David Mordt and Deputy Austin Schmitt in response to a dangerous domestic disturbance August 11 in Poplar Grove was fully lawful, reasonable, and justified.

On Sunday, August 11, 2013, at approximately 5:27 p.m., Boone County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to 336 Springmeadow Drive in Poplar Grove after several 911 calls of gun shots being fired were made from neighbors and from within the house. It was reported that the a man, later identified as 44-year-old Russell Donahue of Rockford, shot into the home several times and then forcibly entered the home by climbing through a broken window in the front door, which had been locked to prevent his entry. According to neighbors’ accounts and 911 recordings, screams could be heard coming from within the house.

Armed with a 9-mm handgun, Donahue searched the home and located the mother and her two daughters, ages 7 and 11, hiding in the second-floor bedroom of one of the girl’s. He threatened to kill the mother and himself and forced the mother out of the closet and into the stairway. While on the stairway, Donahue continued to point the gun at the mother and threaten her life. During this time, the seven-year-old girl sat on her mother’s lap and kicked at Donahue in an attempt to shield her mother from being shot. At one point, Donahue lost his balance and came into the view of Deputy Mordt and Deputy Schmitt. Deputies then shot through the broken window at Donahue. Donahue was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the medical examiner’s findings, Donahue died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

Sheriff Wirth immediately referred the investigation to the Winnebago and Boone Integrity Task Force. Upon its completion, the investigation was turned over to State’s Attorney Courier, who reviewed the matter and determined that the shooting was justified.

The investigation revealed that Donahue’s handgun was loaded and that multiple witnesses and crime scene evidence corroborated the actions of both deputies, Courier said.

“After reviewing the results of the investigation completed by the Integrity Task Force, there is no doubt that the deputies acted reasonably in firing their weapons in this circumstance,” Courier said. “The deputies were faced with having to use force necessary to protect the mom and her little girl. They reasonably believed that their failure to do so would likely result in the death or serious injury to them.”

The use of force by a peace officer in Illinois is governed by 720 ILCS 5/7-5. It provides, in part, that an officer is “justified in using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm only when he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or other such person.”


UPDATE: POPLAR GROVE (WIFR) – We’re slowly learning more about Sunday’s officer-involved shooting in Poplar Grove.

The man shot and killed by police has been identified as 44-year-old Russell Donahue. We’re told he’s from Rockford.

The Integrity Task Force is still investigating but say Donahue was trying to break into a home in the 300 block of Springmeadow Drive Sunday night. He shot through the door and the Boone County Deputies who responded were worried that the family inside was in danger, so they fired at him.

They’ve been identified as Deputies David Mordt and Austin Schmitt. Both are on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

UPDATE: POPLAR GROVE (WIFR) – A local home invasion turns deadly after investigators say an officer shot and killed an armed man who broke into a Poplar Grove home, leaving a mother and her two children at the center of chaos.

Police say this was not a random attack, saying the suspect and victims knew each other in some way. Neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots and children screaming at the time of the invasion, however we’re told no one was hurt.

A member of the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force says the suspect shot through the front door and got into the house around 5:30 Sunday night. Minutes later, we’re told two veteran Boone County deputies responded to the scene. Both reportedly fired shots at the suspect, killing the man.

Investigators say the deputies felt the mother and her two kids were in danger. The children are under the age of 15. The suspect’s name will not be released until family is notified.
The case will now go to the Boone County State’s Attorney’s Office for review to determine whether the shooting was justified. Five different departments responded to the scene last night.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact a representative of the Winnebago-Boone Integrity Task Force at 815-987-7440.


POPLAR GROVE (WIFR) -- We're continuing to follow a developing story. Police say a man has been killed in an officer-related shooting in Poplar Grove.

Authorities are not releasing any other details at this time. We do know the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force is now investigating.

We will have more information as it becomes available.


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