Marlene Rittmanic, Bradley Police Department sgt. killed, was 'leader in community policing'

Clancy Gernon Funeral Home in Bourbonnais assisting with her arrangements

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, January 3, 2022
Bradley police warn of fraudulent fundraisers
The Bradley Police Department is warning people of fake fundraisers for fallen officer.

BRADLEY, Ill. (WLS) -- The Bradley police sergeant killed in the line-of-duty last week is being remembered as "a leader in community policing."

Illinois State Police released a statement Monday morning on behalf of the family of Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and the Bradley Police Department, heralding her dedication to her work and thanking the community for their outpouring of support.

"Marlene believed in people and her ability to speak to the community with respect; meet them where they are in life; try to understand their true needs; and work together to find a solution that produced the least disruption in people's lives," the statement said. "To her - the job was about making her community safe for everyone, she believed - and stated, 'just because you can, doesn't mean you should.'"

Rittmanic, 49, was killed and her partner Officer Tyler Bailey, 27, was critically wounded in a motel shooting last week.

Rittmanic and her partner responded to a call Wednesday night of dogs barking in an unattended car in the parking lot at the Comfort Inn off of Route 50, the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office has said. They went to the hotel room where the car's owner was staying when police say the people inside the room began attacking the two officers, shooting them.

Two suspects were eventually taken into custody after going on the run. Darius D. Sullivan was arrested in North Manchester, Indiana Friday morning, authorities said. Later that day, Xandria Harris turned herself in to Bradley police.

WATCH | Bradley police officer shooting suspect arrested in Indiana

Indiana police provide an update on the arrest of a suspect in the shooting that killed a Bradley police officer and wounded another.

Rittmanic was awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2020, the ISP statement said.

She was also a published poet, amateur photographer and film producer for family events, Bradley Police Department recruiting and community events.

"The community of Kankakee County came to a complete stop to stand in the cold to witness our hero, wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt - Sergeant Marlene Rittmanic-Stua be transferred from Riverside to the Kankakee County Sheriff's Department and again from the Sheriff's Department to Clancy Funeral Home," the statement said. "We saw many familiar faces and complete strangers - We are more than grateful for you all and we know that you too are feeling the loss."

WATCH | Community honors Bradley police sergeant killed in line of duty

Hundreds of people lined up in silence to honor Rittmanic during a procession to a Bourbonnais funeral home Thursday afternoon.

But the Bradley Police Department is also warning people of fake fundraisers claiming to be for Rittmanic.

The department said there are no fundraising pages from her family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in her honor may be made to the Marlene Rittmanic Memorial Fund at Federated Bank in Bradley. Memorials will be accepted at the services and the Clancy Gernon Funeral Home in Bourbonnais, which is assisting with arrangements, which have not yet been announced.

They say no account will be created on GoFundMe and if you see one, they recommend reporting it as fraudulent.

However, there is one fundraiser page for Officer Bailey.

Rittmanic first became an officer in 2000 with the Iroquois County Sheriff's Department. She had been with the Bradley Police Department for 14 years, and her niece said she was just five years away from retirement. She leaves behind her wife, Lynette Stua.

"Our world has been turned upside down, obliterated and hopelessly broken," her family and colleagues said.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.