McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2019, was honored last week in Washington, DC along with hundreds of other officers who have died in the past two years.
The names of 701 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, including 434 who died in 2019 and 2020, were formally dedicated on Thursday during the 33rd Annual Candlelight Vigil.
The vigil was held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and produced by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
“The stories behind each of the 701 new names that we officially add to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial tonight are so special,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
“To pay them proper tribute, each of their names will be read as a part of the ceremony and will be forever etched on the walls of the Memorial and in the hearts of an eternally grateful nation. To them and the families that they represent, and to all law enforcement professionals who serve each day to protect us, thank you,” Ferranto said.
When the law enforcement national monument was dedicated 30 years ago, there were more than 12,500 names on its walls.
The tradition of reading the names out is carried forward each year at the candlelight vigil as a tribute to the nation’s law enforcement officers and the signature event of National Police Week.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events usually held during National Police Week in May were postponed to Police Weekend 2021, an event in October.
Keltner, 35, was working as a Special Deputy for the U.S. Marshal Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force on March 7, 2019.
The task force was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Floyd E. Brown, of Springfield, who was staying at the Extended Stay America Hotel in Rockford.
When police knocked on the hotel room door where Brown was staying, he opened fire on the officers with a high-powered rifle.
Keltner, along with Brown’s girlfriend, who was in the hotel room with him, both sustained gunshot wounds.
Keltner was later pronounced dead at a hospital while the woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Brown fled the scene in a vehicle after jumping out his hotel room window.
Illinois State Police and other police agencies chased Brown on Interstate 55 at speeds of over 100 mph until he came to a stop near Lincoln, Illinois after he ran over spike strips.
Brown is facing numerous federal charges, including killing a federal law enforcement officer.
Keltner left behind his wife and two young children.