No charges filed in 2022 Rockton police involved shooting

The incident happened around 7:45 p.m. Thursday at the Walmart on East Rockton Road.
The incident happened around 7:45 p.m. Thursday at the Walmart on East Rockton Road.(23 WIFR)
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 11:22 AM CDT
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ROCKTON, Ill. (WIFR) - A criminal shoplifting case moves forward Tuesday after a Rockton sergeant is deemed justified in using deadly force to stop the suspect from hitting him with his vehicle.

Sgt. Benjamin Heintz fired three rounds at 26-year-old Austin Levitski on Nov. 17, 2022 in what the Winnebago County State’s Attorney says was a reasonable reaction to the suspect’s actions. Levitski was hit in the shoulder by one of the shots, treated for non-life-threatening injuries, then arrested and booked at the Winnebago County jail.

Evidence in the investigation by the Winnebago-Boone Integrity Task Force showed that Sgt. Heintz tried to stop Levitski from leaving the Walmart parking lot after a witness reported Levitski’s passenger, Melody Gackstatter, loaded stolen items into their green SUV.

Heintz said he parked his police vehicle in front of the SUV and demanded Levitski get out of the vehicle, but the suspect did not comply.

The sergeant told investigators that he feared for his safety and the safety of others during the standoff, when he couldn’t see the suspect’s hands and thought he may have a weapon. It was after Levitski started driving at the sergeant that the shots were fired.

Levitski has been lodged in the Winnebago County jail on several charges and is also wanted in Wisconsin. He’s due back in court on Wednesday, March 29.