Officers cleared in shooting of Beloit reckless homicide suspect - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Officers cleared in shooting of Beloit reckless homicide suspect

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Rock County District Attorney David J. O'Leary announced Friday that the officers involved in a shooting of a reckless homicide suspect acted lawfully.

The incident happened on the 900 block of Tenth Street in Beloit on May 11. Officers responded to a report of an unwanted person. They found that two individuals, later identified at Christopher Rutherford and Sheila Rosenbaum, struggling over car keys. After separating the two officers found that Rutherford was armed with a knife. A criminal complaint states that he ignored officers' commands to stop, and proceeded to enter a van and start the engine. 

The complaint says one officer tried to pull Rutherford from the vehicle as the engine was revving and it was still in park, but eventually the officer let go, fearing for his own safety.

At this point, Rosenbaum was just in front of the van and she was hit when Rutherford put the vehicle into gear and took off. Officers opened fire on the van as it drove away.

Rosenbaum was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Autopsy results show she died of blunt force trauma to the chest.

Rutherford later crashed the van into a tree and took off on foot, where officers later tracked him down. He was then taken to the hospital because he had a single gunshot wound to the middle of his back.

According to the complaint, Rutherford told detectives during an interview that he had smoked crack cocaine earlier in the day and admitted to drinking Jack Daniels. The complaint says lab results confirm he tested positive for the presence of cocaine and opiates.

After a review of the investigative reports, it was found that the officers acted in accordance to their duty as sworn law enforcement officers when they fired upon the van. 

Rutherford faces one felony count of first-degree reckless homicide. 

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