At around 8:30 pm on Saturday, May 28, 2022, police responded to a 911 call for assistance from the Rockford Casino on the city's east side. A man with a firearm was in the parking lot. Several police officers rushed to the scene and engaged with him.
An armed man had pointed a gun at his head and fired into the air before aiming at the officers. This prompted the officers to shoot at him. The man, identified as Bradley James Thompkins, 51, got struck by bullets at his midsection and later rushed to a local hospital.
He is currently in critical condition. The incident occurred near the casino's main entrance in the parking lot.
Officers believe that he was inside the casino before the officers confronted him. Thompkins was shot by two Rockford police officers and a Winnebago County Sheriff's deputy. The officers went to a nearby hospital for an examination before they were released.
During a media briefing at 10:30 pm, Winnebago County Sheriff and Rockford police chief confirmed that an off-duty sheriff's deputy and other multiple police officers shot him. They managed to detain him before other people or officers got hurt. Police also stated that they were not aware of how many people were in the parking lot and how many shots were fired.
Workers from neighboring establishments and their customers got terrified during the incident. Erin Murphy, who works at Burger King, stated that families and children inside the restaurant stayed for 45 minutes in fear and confusion as police gathered across the street. She added that the scene was huge as police kept streaming into the scene.
Task Force Investigates Incidence
An investigation is currently underway by the Winnebago-Boone County Integrity Task Force, as is the procedure. The task force consists of 15 officers from Boone and Winnebago counties. Investigations on the officers' and deputy's actions, as well as Thompkins' actions, are underway.
Detectives investigated the crime scene and seized evidence, interviewed witnesses, obtained videos, and gathered weapons. Videos include the casino's surveillance footage as well as the officers' body cams. Yellow caution tape encircled the casino's parking lot to prevent tampering with evidence.
Hanley's office will get the task force's report. From this report, prosecutors will conclude if officers used excessive force or whether they acted under the law.
Hanley, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, outlined the Illinois legal norm. He added that an officer was only allowed to use deadly force when defending against an impending threat of death or serious injury to the officer or others, based on the totality of the circumstances.
Prosecutors will review the report of the task force within 30 days after its submission. Thompkins is yet to face charges. A statement released by Hard Rock stating that the casino returned to normal hours and operation on Sunday.
Hard Rock casino is a temporary location and will operate for about two years. A permanent casino and entertainment complex is built at the former location of the Clock Tower Resort.