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BWC shows suspect open fire on Ill. deputies, wounding 3

After a three-hour standoff, three Ogle County deputies and the suspect were shot when exchanging gunfire

By Payton Felix
Daily Gazette

OREGON, Ill. — The Ogle County Sheriff’s Office has released a critical incident briefing video that includes body camera footage and additional information about a shooting that occurred in the Lost Lake subdivision June 12 that resulted in three deputies being shot.

The video was presented to the Ogle County Board during its regular meeting Tuesday, June 18, and has been released online by the sheriff’s office to maintain the department’s commitment to openness and transparency with the public, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said.

Police were called the morning of June 12 to the 400 block of Wild Rice Lane in Lost Lake, a rural subdivision east of Dixon, with a warning of a “suicide-by-cop” situation. After a three-hour standoff, three Ogle County deputies and the home’s resident, Jonathon G. Gounaris, were shot when exchanging gunfire.

“The information [in this video] will give you a better understanding of what happened and what was known to law enforcement before the incident,” VanVickle said.

The briefing video is the department’s understanding of the incident at this time and is subject to change, he said. VanVickle noted that until the criminal investigation is complete, officials draw no conclusions as to whether the deputies responded in accordance with the law or departmental policy. The investigation is being conducted by Illinois State Police .

VanVickle said his department received a call at 8:39 a.m. from the owner of a home in the 400 block of Wild Rice Lane, who told police that her son, Gounaris, was displaying “suicidal and homicidal ideations.” Officers arrived at the scene at 9:05 a.m.

The Ogle County Emergency Response Team was activated after additional information was provided by the caller that Gounaris was armed with multiple firearms and that his firearm owner’s identification card was revoked because of “a clear and present danger report,” VanVickle said.

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The ERT is made up of individuals from different agencies, including the sheriff’s office, Oregon and Byron police departments, and SWAT medics from the Rochelle Fire Department .

At 10:20 a.m., the ERT arrived at the scene and tried to make contact with Gounaris by calling his cellphone, but officials received no response. ERT members deployed a throw phone into the residence, as shown by body camera footage, and continued to try to make contact.

After more than 60 attempted calls, it was authorized for the ERT to enter the residence at 11:51 a.m., VanVickle said.

The body camera footage shown was captured by Ogle County Sheriff’s Deputy John Shippert . VanVickle said there are multiple videos of the shootings, but this one was chosen because the department agreed that it provides the best overall view of the events that occurred.

The footage shows four ERT members approaching the front door of the residence at 11:53 a.m.

Multiple shots were fired from inside the home immediately after the door was opened. The deputies are seen running away from the door before returning fire in an attempt to incapacitate the subject, according to the video.

According to timestamps on the body camera footage, the gunfire lasted less than a minute. During the exchange, tactical medic Tyler Carls of the Rochelle Fire Department was struck twice in the body armor, Sgt. Tad Dominski of the Oregon Police Department suffered a gunshot wound to the upper arm, and Lt. Jason Ketter of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office suffered a gunshot wound to the face.

Gounaris was shot in the stomach. Deputies found him inside the door with multiple firearms, a blade knife and pepper spray near him. He also was wearing ballistic armor, VanVickle said.

As the seven-minute video came to an end, the boardroom was silent. VanVickle was visibly upset.

“I’ve seen this a lot, and it doesn’t get any easier,” he said.

Ketter was taken by air ambulance to OSF Medical Center in Rockford, where he underwent surgery. He walked out of OSF’s main entrance Friday night after being released from the hospital as officers from multiple departments stood in salute and escorted him to his home in rural Ogle County .

The other injured officers — Dominski and Carls — were treated at KSB Hospital in Dixon on June 12 and released later that evening, VanVickle told Shaw Local.

Board Chairman John Finfrock acknowledged how brave and well-trained the ERT is. At that moment, he said, he was at a loss for words.

Gounaris was taken to a local hospital and treated for his injuries.

“I speak for the entire County Board when I say that we are proud of your people and how they reacted to the problems they encountered last week. I can’t tell you how sorry we are to have anyone hurt, and we will forever be thankful that we had a well-trained and brave group of officers representing Ogle County in a life-and-death situation,” Finfrock said at the end of the board meeting.

Twenty of the 24 board members were present for Tuesday’s meeting. Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows also was in attendance. He praised VanVickle for the way that he and his team handled the situation.

“If there is anything that [the Ogle County Board] can do to back you, [the Ogle County sheriff] and your people, on this situation, please ask us,” Finfrock said.

Gounaris, 32, has been charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, three counts of aggravated battery and two counts of possession of a firearm without a FOID card, according to a news release sent Tuesday afternoon from Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock.

Gounaris now is being held in the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford and is scheduled to appear Thursday in Ogle County court in Oregon.


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