Rockford, Illinois News

Fatal officer-involved shooting captured by body cam

ROCKFORD — The fatal shooting of a local man by a Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputy Saturday was captured by the officer’s body camera.

But, Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley said the footage won’t be released to the public until he consults with the sheriff’s department.

“We have to be cognizant of preserving the investigation while also being as transparent as possible with the public,” he said.

The Winnebago-Boone Integrity Task Force is currently investigating the incident. And while it is not common practice for something like body-cam video to be made public until an investigation is complete, Hanley said footage in Saturday’s shooting could be released within the next seven to 10 days.

Details of the incident are still unclear but what is known is that at around 5:45 p.m., deputies were called to a domestic disturbance at a home in the 2100 block of Bellwort Drive and encountered 27-year-old Faustin Guetigo holding a metal pipe.

Authorities say Guetigo was shot when he disobeyed orders to drop the pipe and charged at deputies, knocking one of them unconscious. The deputy was treated and released at a local hospital.

“Use of deadly force by law enforcement is a serious responsibility that must be carried out legally and with respect for every person’s life,” Hanley said. “Under the law, an officer may use deadly force when, based on the totality of the circumstances, the officer reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious injury to the officer or others. When this office reviews law enforcement action we are mindful that police officers are often forced to make split second decisions in circumstances that are tense and uncertain and may be rapidly changing in terms of the level of force necessary in a particular situation.”

The incident was the second area officer-involved shooting in as many days. At around 7 p.m., Sunday, a 19-year-old man was shot by a Rockford officer on the city’s west side. Hanley said that incident unfolded when police attempted to stop a vehicle near Central and Michigan avenues and the man fled on foot. The man’s wounds were not life threatening. A gun was recovered near the area of the shooting.

“The job of a prosecutor is to seek justice,” Hanley said. “This includes justice for individuals who have been unjustifiably harmed by law enforcement. Part of seeking justice is to carefully review all potential cases to determine if there should be criminal consequences as a result of the action. This office takes great care to make sure our charging analysis follows the law, is independent, objective, and thorough.”

Investigations of both incidents by the Winnebago-Boone Integrity Task Force are expected to take as long as six months.