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Police Officer And Poet Was 'Pleading For Her Life' Before She Was Shot With Her Own Gun

Xandria Harris and Darius Sullivan allegedly chased Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic down a hotel hallway where she pleaded for her life before they shot her in the neck and throat.

By Gina Tron
Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic Killed In Line Of Duty

A police officer in Illinois pleaded for her life before two people allegedly shot her to death with her own gun.

Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and Officer Tyler Bailey responded to a complaint about barking dogs in an unattended vehicle at a Comfort Inn on Dec. 29, according to a police press release

“Upon arrival officers located a vehicle and a room inside the hotel where the possible owner of the vehicle was staying,” police stated. “Officers initiated conversation with the subjects in the room and while during conversation the officers were attacked by the subjects occupying the room, whereas both officers were shot.”

The occupants of the room were Xandria Harris, 26, and her boyfriend Darius Sullivan, 25. They allegedly shot Bailey in the head before chasing Rittmanic down the hall, ABC 7 in Chicago reports. She was then shot twice with her own gun, in the throat and neck. The entire incident was captured on her body cam.

"At the time Sullivan fired those fatal shots to Sgt. Rittmanic, 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,'" Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe said in court on Monday, according to ABC7. "Throughout the entire interaction, she was pleading for her life."

There was audible crying in the courtroom as Rowe described Rittmanic’s final moments. The attorney general alleged that Harris helped disarm Rittmanic so Sullivan could shoot her. 

Officer Bailey survived the shooting. 

Sullivan allegedly immediately fled while Harris gathered her two children, who were also in the hotel room during the shooting, and left the hotel on her own. Rowe stated in a Monday press release that he has submitted an official request to the United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois and to the United States Attorney General to pursue a federal death sentence against the couple.

“Illinois is not a death penalty state, but under these circumstances the United States Attorney General can authorize the filing of a petition to seek the death penalty in a federal murder case,” he noted. 

Rowe also announced that Sullivans’ mother Nichele Newton-Caroll and his brother Jalmen Sullivan had been arrested for obstruction of justice for allegedly making false statements to law enforcement, and harboring a fugitive to aid in his escape.

Sullivan has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery with a firearm. Harris has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. It’s not clear if they have attorneys.

Rittmanic was a 21-year law enforcement veteran, according to the Illinois State Police. Her death leaves her wife Lyn Stua without a partner.

“Marlene was a leader in community policing,” the state police said in a press release. “Marlene believed in people and her ability to speak to the community with respect; meet them where they are in life; try to understand their true needs; and work together to find a solution that produced the least disruption in people’s lives.”

A statement from her family noted that the slain officer was “also a published poet, amateur photographer and film producer for our family events.”

She is remembered for her empathy and mercy on the job.

“If she pulled over a single mother without a $1 to her name but clearly had violations, she would consider the long-term consequences of creating more debt to someone that is already impoverished,” they stated. “She was awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2020 – just to drive home the type of Police Officer she really was.”

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