Rockton officer shoots man in alleged shoplifting incident at Walmart
ROCKTON, Ill. (WIFR) - An alleged shoplifting incident turns violent as a Rockton police officer shoots a 25-year-old man who the officer says tried to run him over with a vehicle.
The incident happened around 7:45 p.m. Thursday at the Walmart on East Rockton Road.
Officials say the man shot, 25-year-old Austin Levitski, was in a vehicle with Melody Gackstatter, who was accused of shoplifting. Rockton Police Department Sergeant Ben Heintz ordered both suspects to get out of the vehicle. Investigators say that’s when Levitski got into the driver’s seat and drove toward Sgt. Heintz; he was able to get out of the way and fired three rounds at the suspects.
The vehicle then allegedly fled the parking lot and continued toward Machesney Park, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour before eventually crashing near Forest Hills Road. Police say Levitski tried to run away but was tazed by officers. Both Levitski and Gackstatter were taken into custody shortly after the crash. It was later discovered that Levitski had a gunshot wound to his arm. He was taken to a hospital and is in fair condition.
Detectives say Levitski has three active warrants for theft from the Rockton Police Department and a warrant out of Wisconsin.
Sgt. Heintz is on administrative leave while the Winnebago Boone Integrity Task Force investigates. The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office will then make any recommendations about criminal charges.
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