Rockton, IL

Update in the officer-involved shooting in Rockton, Illinois

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The Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley and the Winnebago-Boone County Integrity Task Force have released an update and their press release around 5:30 PM on Friday, November 18th, following an investigation conducted by the Winnebago-Boone County Integrity Task Force on the events that occurred on the evening of Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the Walmart in Roscoe/Rockton, Illinois.

According to the press release, around 7:40 PM on November 17th, Rockton Police Sergent Ben Heintz was in the area of the Walmart in Roscoe, Illinois, when he was flagged down by a citizen outside the business. The customer reported that there was a robbery that had occurred in the parking lot. Sergeant Heintz located the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle in the Walmart parking lot.

When Sergeant Heintz approached the vehicle, he observed a female suspect by the name of Melody Gackstatter loading the vehicle with suspected stolen merchandise. In the front passenger seat was where the second male subject was located his name was Austin K Levitski. When Sergeant Heintz ordered the two subjects to exit the vehicle, the male subject began to climb into the driver’s side seat and put the vehicle in drive as Sergeant Heintz was standing in front of the vehicle. Sergeant Heintz put his hands out as Levitski drove toward him, touched the hood of the car, and then side-stepped to the side of the vehicle to avoid being hit and fired three rounds at the vehicle.

The vehicle then fled from the Walmart parking lot, going east on Rockton Rd and eventually south on IL 251, which was when a high-speed pursuit began. Sergeant Heintz received back-up in the pursuit by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and the Roscoe Police Department southbound on 251, where speeds reached over 100 MPH. The suspect vehicle took a turn onto Forest Hills Rd and later crashed into a garage at 11203 Dorothea Ave in Machesney Park, Illinois. After the crash, Levitski fled on foot before officers caught up to him and tazed him. Both Austin K Levitski and Melody Gackstatter were both arrested and taken into custody following the crash.

According to the press release, Levitski was reported to have a gunshot injury to the arm and was transported to the Javon Bea MercyHealth Hospital. He is reported to be in fair condition at this time.

Austin K Levitski has three active warrants for theft from the Rockton Police Department and an IDOC warrant out of Wisconsin, according to the press release.

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