Bradley police officer pleaded for her life before man shot her to death with her own gun: prosecutors
Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe wants federal prosecutors to pursue the death penalty against Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris in the killing of Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and the critical wounding of her partner last week.
A Bradley police sergeant was “desperately pleading for her life” moments before a gunman fatally shot her with the officer’s own gun, Kankakee County prosecutors said Monday.
Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe is seeking life sentences for Darius Sullivan, 25, and Xandria Harris, 26, who face a litany of felony charges in last week’s hotel shooting that killed Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and critically wounded her partner. He is pushing for federal murder charges to be filed against the two and for federal prosecutors to pursue the death penalty.
Wednesday’s incident unfolded about 9:56 p.m., when Rittmanic and her partner, Officer Tyler Bailey, responded to a noise complaint regarding dogs barking in a parked car outside the Comfort Inn in the 1500 block of North State Highway 50, Rowe said during Harris’ bond hearing Monday.
When Bailey found out the car had belonged to Harris — who he knows as an acquaintance of Sullivan — the officer met Rittmanic in the hotel lobby and asked a clerk whether there were any rooms under the names of “Xandria Harris” or “Darius Sullivan,” Rowe said.
The hotel employee sent the officers to room 308, which was booked by Sullivan, who was wanted on outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court and had previously fled from Bradley officers who had tried to detain him on the warrants, Rowe said.
The officers didn’t receive a response from the room after their initial knock around 10:13 p.m. About a minute later, officers knocked again — this time with Bailey loudly saying, “It’s the Police Department” and asking Harris to exit the room to address the complaint about the noisy dogs, Rowe said. Harris allegedly responded, “Yes,” and indicated she would be coming out of the room.
The 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 saying she was coming.
After about 14 minutes of waiting, Harris tried to squeeze herself through the door and close it allegedly in an attempt to prevent officers from taking Sullivan into custody.
Rittmanic and her partner both repeatedly asked Harris to stop blocking the doorway, Rowe said. Eventually, Sullivan came around the corner in the hotel room armed with a 9mm handgun equipped with a drum clip, 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 to Rittmanic and shot at her as she tried to run away.
Sullivan allegedly chased Rittmanic down the hallway before pinning her against a door. Sullivan struggled to unjam his gun using his right hand and mouth while also trying to disarm Rittmanic with his left hand, Rowe said.
As the scuffle ensued, Sullivan called out to Harris, telling her 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 laid on the floor, already shot once, Rowe said. She begged Sullivan not to shoot her.
“Sgt. Rittmanic was pleading with them to, ‘Just leave, you don’t have to do this, please just go, please don’t, please don’t,’” Rowe said. “She was desperately pleading for her life.”
With Harris holding Sullivan’s gun, Sullivan allegedly fired two shots from what prosecutors believe to be Rittmanic’s gun, striking the sergeant in the neck area.
After the shooting, Harris handed Sullivan keys and told him, “You have to go,” Rowe said. Sullivan fled down the hotel’s stairwell before leaving in a vehicle. Meanwhile, Harris retreated to the hotel room, where she gathered her belongings and got her two children, who were in the room at the time, before fleeing, Rowe said.
Rittmanic, 49, and Bailey, 27, were taken to hospitals in critical condition, and Rittmanic later died, police said. Bailey remained hospitalized Monday and is “fighting for his life,” Rowe said.
Sullivan was arrested without incident about 9 a.m. by the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force after he walked out of a home in North Manchester, Indiana, a town about 35 miles west of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He remains in Indiana custody as the Kankakee County prosecutors await a Governor’s Warrant to extradite him back to Illinois.
Harris, accompanied by her attorney, surrendered at the Bradley Police Department about seven hours after Sullivan’s arrest.
During her bond hearing, Rowe said Harris “actively assisted and enabled Darius Sullivan throughout the course of the murder of Sgt. Rittmanic and [attempted] murder of officer Bailey, and she is equally responsible.”
Harris was denied bail.
Rittmanic’s wake will take place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Hawkins Centennial Chapel in Bourbonnais. Services will be held 10 a.m. Friday at the chapel. Internment services will be private.