A memorial vigil was held yesterday at the Unitarian Universalist church in Rockford to honor police officer Jaimie Cox, who was killed in the line of duty early Sunday on church property in Rockford.
Cox, 30, was a 2014 graduate of Northern Illinois University and joined the Rockford Police Department in December 2016. He was a graduate of Hononegah High School and had previously worked for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara announced that flags at city facilities will fly at at half staff all week, and blue lights will be displayed at City Hall and the Morgan Street Bridge in honor of Cox.
“I am saddened by officer Cox’s death, but I am also angry,” McNamara said in a news release. “Angry that we continue to struggle with violence in our community. Angry that our residents don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods. And, I am most angered by those who think they can terrorize our community by harming our most dedicated and bravest young people. This must stop.”
The mayor also emphasized that no cuts have been made to the police budget, and the city is working to bring the police department up to its authorized strength of 297 officers.
According to information released by the department, the Rockford police officer stopped a car in the area of East State Street and Dawn Avenue shortly after 1 a.m. A short time later, Cox called in on his police radio, stating that he needed assistance.
Officers responded to the area and found a single-vehicle crash on the property of Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St., approximately two blocks north of the initial stop and just west of the back entrance to Rockford University. Officers found a dead man, later identified as 49-year-old Eddie Patterson, inside the crashed pickup truck.
They also found Cox, who was critically injured, at the scene of the crash and immediately began administering first aid. Officers transported Cox to OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries. His body was then transported to the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office under police escort.
Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea provided an update on the investigation at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
The preliminary investigation indicates that Cox was involved in a scuffle during the traffic stop that resulted in him becoming entangled by the suspect vehicle. Police believe Cox fired his weapon during the incident.
“We know many of you are asking what you can do,” O’Shea said. “Continue supporting us. Pray for Jaimie. Pray for his wife. Pray for his family. And pray for us as we get through this difficult time.”
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner added his condolences in a statement issued Sunday afternoon. “We are deeply saddened by the death of Officer Jaimie Cox,” Rauner said. “He paid the ultimate price while working to keep our communities safe. My thoughts and prayers are with his family as they find a way to cope with this tragic loss.”
In consultation with Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato and Rockford Park District Police Chief Theo Glover, who also heads the Winnebago Boone County Integrity Task Force, the task force was activated based on the information available.
The cause of death for Cox and for Patterson have not yet been determined.
The Officer Down Memorial Page cites “vehicular assault” as the reason for Cox’s death. He is the seventh Rockford police officer to be killed in the line of duty this year. The other six were killed by gunfire.
Police were investigating the area around Turner Street and Dawn Avenue for information about the incidents. This is an active and ongoing investigation.
The Rockford Police Department urges anyone with information about this incident to contact the its Investigations Bureau at 779-500-6551 or CrimeStoppers at 815-963-7867.
Visitation for Cox will be held Friday, Nov. 10, at First Free Evangelical Church, 2223 N. Mulford Road, from 3 until 9 p.m., with the law enforcement walk-through scheduled at 6 p.m. The police funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the same location. A procession will follow immediately after the service.
Source: WNIJ News