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Montgomery Police detail response to shooting : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Montgomery Police detail response to shooting
Police chief: three suspects arrested within 15-18 minutes of Feb. 11 incident

by John Etheredge


Montgomery Police Chief Daniel Meyers provided a standing room crowd of concerned village residents with a step-by-step description of the police department's response to a Feb. 11 drive-by shooting in the village's Lakewood Creek West Subdivision during a special Neighborhood Watch program meeting last Wednesday evening.

Meyers also urged residents to assist village police by participating in police department-sponsored Neighborhood Watch programs.

"We need you to be our eyes and ears," he said.

The Feb. 11 incident occurred at 7:43 a.m. when shots were fired from a vehicle driving past a home in the 2800 block of Frances Lane.

Meyers said the vehicle fled the scene eastbound to the area of Ill. Route 31 and U.S. Route 30. A resident from the home that was hit by the gunfire pursued the vehicle in his own vehicle and the two vehicles collided near the highway interchange.

The vehicle that was involved in the shooting then left the scene of the crash and drove to the area of Baseline and Albright roads. There, Meyers said, the three passengers in the vehicle ran from the vehicle.

Meyers said Oswego Police officers pursued and arrested two of the suspects, while a Kendall County Sheriff's Deputy picked up the third suspect.

In addition to Oswego Police and Kendall County Sheriff's Deputies, Meyers said officers from the Kane County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police, Fox Valley Park District Police and Aurora Police Department responded to the incident.

Noting that Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird was in attendance at the meeting, Meyers told him, "I thank you and your department for your assistance that day."

Meyers said he learned of the incident when he received a phone call from a police department detective sergeant while driving to the police station.

Continuing, Meyers said he went immediately to Frances Lane to meet with a village police officer and the department's evidence technician.

Upon his arrival, Meyers said, "The scene was secured on Frances. At that point we were collecting evidence. Det. Sgt. Jeff Ricedorf, Sgt. Liz Palko, and Sgt. Greg Sullivan had the suspects in custody. Everything was pretty much secured within 15 to 18 minutes of the original call coming in to KenCom (the police department's 911 dispatching service)."

Meyers confirmed the Frances Lane shooting is related to a second drive-by shooting that occurred on Denham Road in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision south of Route 30 and east of Ill. Route 25 at approximately 10:45 p.m. Feb. 11. The Kendall County Sheriff's Office, which provides police protection for Boulder Hill, is investigating the shooting.

"One of the suspects that we have in custody used to live on Denham. It has been confirmed in the last few days that these incidents are all connected. So now we are working closely with the Sheriff's Office on the shooting on Denham," he said.

Meyers noted that some people have questioned the department's response time to Frances Lane.

"They said we had an eight minute response (time) to Frances, but we had less than a two to three minute responses to (Routes) 30 and 31. That's where the threat was. We also recovered the weapon between Baseline Road and Albright Road."

Meyers said the department issued two press releases to keep residents informed about the incident. However, he said the department is limited on how much information it can release under Illinois Supreme Court rules.

"There is only so much I can say," he said, adding, "There are more facts out there with the neighbors who see stuff than I can give out. If the State's Attorney in Kane or Kendall County determine I've violated those Supreme Court rules we can jeopardize our case in court later."

Meyers told residents the investigation of the incident is continuing by his department with assistance from six detectives provided by the Kane County Major Crimes Task Force.

"With this incident we have three crime scenes. We have Frances Lane, Routes 30 and 31, and Baseline and Albright (roads)," he said.

Meyers said Det. Ricedorf has been working "hand-in-hand with the Kendall County State's Attorney's Office to build this case strong on all three suspects.

In response to the incident, Meyers said village police have increased their presence and patrols in the Frances Lane neighborhood.

Meyers said despite some requests from residents, village police will not be stationing a squad car outside the Frances Lane home.

"I have 18,437 other (village) residents I need to worry about also," he said.

Meyers said police have added an extra patrol officer on the village's west side, south of Route 30.

Communications with
school district questioned

During a question and answer session, several residents questioned Meyers about the police department's communications during and after the incident with the Oswego School District. The school district's Lakewood Creek Elementary School is located a few blocks south of Frances Lane.

Meyers said the incident occurred before school started, but residents noted that children were out on France Lanes to await school buses.

One resident told Meyers that her preschool student usually is picked up on Frances Lane by a school bus. However, she said he was told by the school bus company to walk down Frances Lane the morning of the incident to meet the bus at the corner of Frances Lane and Prescott Drive.

The resident and many others said they learned about the shooting via social media.

The resident told Meyers that she is an administrator at an elementary school in a neighboring school district and she and other administrators have cell phone numbers of police officers who would respond to her school in an emergency "and vice and versa."

"I have met with my (school's) emergency response team, the police department and fire department and they have my cell phone number on hand so if there is an issue around my school I, as an administrator, can make the call as to what I'm going to do," she said. "Is there not an emergency crisis team in place with the Oswego School District so the police department can communicate with the schools and the bus entities?"

Meyers noted that some residents have asked him why Lakewood Creek Elementary School was not placed on lockdown as a result of the incident.

Noting that the school does not begin its day until 8:35 p.m., Meyers said, "You can't lockdown a school that isn't open. There was no staff there."

Concerning communication with the staff at Lakewood Creek Elementary School, Meyers said due to "leadership changes" that have occurred at the school police had "no one to call" that morning.

"We did call the bus transportation (office) because we know the buses start to roll early," he added.

Since the incident, Meyers said village police have met with Valerie Patterson, a school district administrator, to discuss emergency communications and preparedness.

"She (Patterson) is now our number one contact with anything to do with the Oswego School District," Meyers said.

Meyers said village police have contact information with officials for each of the five school districts and the four fire districts that serve different sections of the village.

"But this (incident) was before school started and that made it pretty hard," he said.

Sgt. Palko said she was among village police personnel that had met with earlier in the day. She described Patterson as a "very, very experienced" administrator who works very well with school resource officers in Oswego.

"We do have a phone system in place," Palko continued. "For the future she (Patterson) is my contact and all of our sergeants also have her number."

On the morning of Feb. 11, Palko said she did not take along her cell phone as she hurried out of the police station to pursue the suspects who had moments earlier shot up the house on Frances Lane. When she got back to the station after helping arrest the suspects, Palko said she found that Patterson had left seven messages on her cell phone seeking information.

"They are doing their part," Palko said of Patterson and school administrators, "But I didn't have my phone. She was calling in here (to the station) but I wasn't here, so we have remedied that."

The resident also noted the school district "doesn't have much trouble sending out phone blasts to notify me of Father-Daughter dances and other events happening at the school. I seem to be notified of those things after hours and before hours.

"It would have been nice to have heard something from the school district that said they were really sorry, but there was a situation on Frances Lane, please delay your child from coming to school for a half hour. I certainly would not have had a problem with my son being 30 minutes late for school just to be sure they were safe," she said.

Village President Matt Brolley thanked residents for attending the meeting.

"I want you know that we take this issue very, very seriously," Brolley said.

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