1246 5 days ago
1246 5 days ago
Police were justified in shooting a 66-year-old man who shot five people, killing two, last week in a Normal mobile home park, the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Authorities also released 911 call audio and footage from officers’ body cameras, revealing details of the chaotic scene that one witness described as a “war zone” to emergency dispatchers.
State’s Attorney Don Knapp said he found the use of lethal force by police against the armed suspect, 66-year-old Ronald J. Reiner, was legally warranted, and that the officers “engaged in a heroic course of conduct that saved several citizens’ lives.” He made the determination after reviewing results of an investigation by the Illinois State Police, which handles officer-involved shootings as a matter of policy.
Julie Davis, 59, and Sharon Reiner, 64, were killed in the incident. Three Normal men were injured.
Normal police were dispatched at 3:44 p.m. Aug. 30 to the Landing Estates Mobile Home Park. Knapp’s report said the first officers on scene, Shane Bachman, Evan Easter and Cory Phillips, were aware there was an armed suspect who had shot several people.
The report identified them as the officers who fired on Ronald Reiner, whom authorities have identified as the person who shot Davis and Sharon Reiner. “We are releasing their names with their knowledge and consent,” Knapp said of the officers.
No other suspects or threats to the public were identified, state police said. The 10-page report from prosecutors noted that the suspect was shooting near Linden Street, a highly traveled road, and a stray bullet could have hit vehicles.
Additionally, the shooting happened in the middle of the afternoon as children were arriving home from school, the report said. A school bus was seen in the body camera footage.
The report released Friday did not disclose a possible motive in the incident. Knapp said state police are still investigating and conducting forensic testing, a process that may not be finalized for several months.
State police on Friday released audio from 911 calls and radio transmission between Normal police and the emergency dispatchers at Metcom. The footage totals about 40 minutes.
In the 911 audio, a caller is heard frantically describing the unfolding Lambert Drive situation as an operator walks him through a description of the subject. The caller told police a victim had been shot in the neck and was bleeding.
The caller could be heard saying “hurry up” as he described the subject walking down the street with a gun. Shots could be heard in the distance.
“It’s a war zone down here,” the caller said.
Once on scene, the three officers continued into the mobile home park, following the sounds of gunfire, according to Knapp’s report. They knew the subject was approaching and firing into cars, it said.
The report said Ronald Reiner weaved through the buildings, furtively approached police and started firing at them.
“There can be no doubt that the subject knew that police officers were on scene and prepared to use force against him to terminate his killing spree,” prosecutors’ report said, “yet he nonetheless chose to engage officers by approaching and firing at them.”
Police officers then returned fire until the suspect fell, Knapp said. The report said he died instantly from several gunshot wounds, including one to the head, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Body camera footage shows the three officers fired roughly 50 gunshots combined toward the suspect.
Easter had repeatedly yelled for the suspect to drop his gun.