Officer Acted Lawfully in Rex Lanes Shooting

From the Beloit Police Department: Rock County District Attorney David J. O’Leary announced today that he has received and reviewed the investigative reports prepared by the State of Wisconsin, Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, including reports from the Rock County Sheriff’s Department, the Beloit Police Department and the Town of Beloit Police Department, concerning the death of Darryl Cooper, 26, during a police officer involved shooting.  

The incident occurred at Rex Lanes, 2547 Park Avenue, in the Town of Beloit, on November 6, 2011.  At approximately 1:44 a.m., while on routine patrol of the parking lot of Rex Lanes, Sergeant Richard Felger of the Town of Beloit Police Department heard multiple gunshots coming from the parking lot.  In that initial gunfire, the investigation revealed that Cooper shot and injured another victim who had gotten into an altercation with Cooper previously in the evening.  Sgt. Felger observed Cooper running from the area of these initial gun shots attempting to conceal a handgun in his pants.  Sgt. Felger confronted Cooper and twice ordered Cooper to show his hands.  Cooper ran from Sgt. Felger around vehicles in the parking lot. Sgt. Felger pursued Cooper.  Cooper turned toward Sgt. Felger, drew his weapon, pointed it at Sgt. Felger and fired multiple shots at Sgt. Felger. When Cooper opened fire, Sgt. Felger returned fire.  Sgt. Felger was shot in the leg, while Cooper was shot multiple times.  Cooper was taken to the hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.  
After reviewing the reports, the autopsy findings, video and audio recordings of the incident, Wisconsin State Crime laboratory reports, and numerous eye witness statements, it is abundantly clear that Sgt. Felger acted lawfully and in accordance to his duty as a sworn law enforcement officer and was protecting not only his own life, but the lives of the numerous other civilians who were in and around the vicinity of the parking lot and who were potential  victims of Cooper’s life-threatening behavior. 
Cooper was armed with a semi-automatic handgun, shot three times and injured another person in the parking lot, and subsequently pointed and fired his gun at Sgt. Felger six times.  Cooper was shot and killed by Sgt. Felger as a direct result of Cooper’s own actions. 
District Attorney O’Leary wishes to commend Sgt. Felger for his actions in preventing further loss of life.  

Thursday Dec. 22 Update:

BELOIT (WIFR) -- The police officer who shot and killed a man in the town of Beloit this fall has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Sergeant Richard Felger was on patrol in the parking lot of Rex Lanes when he saw a man trying to hide a handgun in his pants. After being asked to show his hands, the suspect, Darryl Cooper, fired multiple times at the sergeant--hitting him in the leg. Felger returned fire, killing his attacker.

After reviewing multiple reports, the Rock County District Attorney says Felger did exactly what he needed to in order to protect himself and others.

Monday 11/7/2011 Update:

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- New details are coming out in this weekend's shooting at a Beloit bowling alley that killed a man and injured a police officer. Police are now saying there could be more people involved.

Police say Sergeant Richard Felger drove into the parking lot of Rex Lanes early Sunday morning as part of his normal patrol duties. A large party was exiting the bowling alley. As Sergeant Felger was walking through the parking lot he heard the sound of gunfire, saw a man holding a gun, and approached him.

The man, Darryl Cooper from Rockford, fired at the sergeant and hit him in the leg. The sergeant fired back, hitting Cooper multiple times.

An autopsy will be done on Cooper. Wisconsin’s Department of Justice is leading the investigation. Sergeant Felger has been with the town of Beloit for eight years.

Family Reaction

We've had more than 250 comments on this story on our website and Facebook page. Now family members related to the suspect, 26-year-old Darryl Cooper are responding to the feedback for the first time.

23 News sat down with Cooper's family today to talk about the shooting.

This is a tough situation for everyone involved. Cooper's twin says he's happy the officer is doing well, but wishes his brother was still alive.

The video from the newscast shows a picture of cooper taken just two weeks ago--his family is still trying to find out exactly what happened but say they don't think the officer was the intended target.

A Rex Lanes Bartender tells us about two hundred people were inside the bar when the fight broke out before it moved outside. Cooper's family says their loved one likely planned on shooting someone else and accidentally hit the police officer, calling the shootout out of character.

Cooper’s family is dealing with not just one, but two losses. His older brother, 27-year-old Angelo Cooper, was shot to death last October.

The family is still trying to determine whether Cooper was shot multiple times by the officer and those involved in the fight.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice wouldn't comment on how many shots were fired.

UPDATE: Press Release from The Wisconsin DOJ and Town of Beloit Police Dept.

The investigation continues into a shooting incident that occurred on November 6, 2011 at 1:43 a.m. in the parking lot of Rex Lanes, at 2547 South Park Avenue in the Town of Beloit.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation is the lead agency, with assistance from the Rock County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Beloit Police Department.

In the early morning hours of November 6, 2011, Town of Beloit Sergeant Richard Felger, an eight-year veteran of the Town of Beloit Police Department, drove into the parking lot of Rex Lanes as part of his regular patrol duties. Rex Lanes frequently hosts large gatherings in the bar area known as Striker’s Lounge.

Early Sunday morning, a large party was present and the parking lot was filled with vehicles, with a large crowd exiting the building. It is common practice for officers to be present at closing time to monitor events and to serve as a deterrent for potential problems.

As Sergeant Felger was walking through the parking lot, he heard the sound of gunfire. He observed a male subject with a handgun and confronted him. The male fired at Sergeant Felger, striking him in the left leg. Sergeant Felger returned fire, incapacitating the male. Sergeant Felger was able to summon additional assistance, and numerous officers from surrounding agencies and emergency medical services responded.

Sergeant Felger underwent surgery and was admitted to Beloit Memorial Hospital. The male subject received multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The deceased is identified as Darryl Cooper, age 26, of Rockford, Illinois. Autopsy results are still pending.

The number of persons who fired shots and the number of shots discharged is still under investigation, and agents and detectives continue to locate and interview witnesses and others with information. Physical evidence has been collected and submitted to the crime lab for analysis.

Town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp will hold a brief news conference today at 3 p.m. at the Town of Beloit Police Department, located at 1133 Inman Parkway in the Town of Beloit. No official photo of Sergeant Felger will be released at this time from the Town of Beloit Police Department, but Chief Kopp will provide an update on Sergeant Felger’s condition.

BELOIT (WISCONSIN)-- Beloit police remain on the scene of an officer involved shooting at the Rex Bowling Alley at 2547 South Park Avenue in the Town of Beloit.

It happened at around two Sunday morning. The Rock County Sheriff's Department says an officer shot and killed the suspect moments after he was shot by the suspect. We're told The officer just got out of surgery and is doing OK. Both the officer and suspect's names have not been released.

We're hoping to learn more this morning and will continue to bring you the latest information as soon as it becomes available.

Stay with WIFR, the first local media outlet to break this story.

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