ROCKFORD, Ill. -- A Rockford police officer was killed in the line of duty, and a man he pulled over was also killed, after the two were involved in a "scuffle" early Sunday, according to officials.
Rockford Chief of Police Dan O'Shea said 30-year-old Officer Jamie Cox, who had been on the force for about a year, pulled over 49-year-old Eddie Patterson as he drove a small pickup truck near the northwest suburb around 1 a.m. Sunday.
“A short time later Officer Cox made a brief radio transmission indicating he needed assistance,” O'Shea said during a press conference Sunday.
It was the last they heard from him.
When officers arrived, they discovered the pickup truck crashed into a tree two blocks north of the intersection where the stop occurred. Officer Cox was found with critical injuries at the scene of the crash, O'Shea said, and officers began administering first aid. Cox was transported to St. Anthony Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries. Patterson was also declared dead, but it’s not immediately clear whether he died from injuries sustained in the crash, or if he was shot and killed by Cox.
O'Shea said it appears Cox became "entangled" in the pickup truck after he and Patterson got into a "scuffle" during the traffic stop, and Officer Cox fired his weapon at some point. Few other details are available at this time. O'Shea said autopsies are pending for both Cox and Patterson.
The Independent Winnebago County Integrity Task Force is also investigating.
“Any time there is an officer-related shooting where it is believed that the officer discharged his weapon and an individual was injured as a result of that, the task force is activated,” explains Marilyn Hite Ross, Winnebego County Integrity Task Force.
Authorities say Cox was not wearing a body camera, and police will not say if squad car dash camera video provides any clues as to how the scuffle started.
Cox was a member of the Army National Guard, and is survived by his wife.
Funeral services for the officer have not yet been planned. Sunday night, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued a statement saying Cox paid the ultimate price to keep his community safe.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Officer Jaimie Cox. 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.”