McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner (inset) died on March 7, 2019, while attempting to serve an arrest warrant on a wanted suspect in Rockford. | Background Photo: Rich Chapman (pool)

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said they are remembering sheriff’s deputy Jacob Keltner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty four years ago today.

“Deputy Keltner will always be a hero to his family, his brothers and sisters in blue, and his community. He is very much missed, but never forgotten,” the sheriff’s office said Tuesday morning.

Keltner, who was a sheriff’s deputy in McHenry County, also worked as a Special Deputy for the U.S. Marshal Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.

The task force on March 7, 2019, was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Floyd E. Brown, 43, of Springfield, who was staying at the Extended Stay America Hotel in Rockford.

Brown had been staying at the hotel to avoid apprehension on outstanding warrants that he had for residential burglary.

When the task force knocked on the front door of the third-floor room where Brown was staying, he opened fire on the officers with a high-powered rifle.

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Prosecutors said Brown fired ten shots through the door and nearby walls, narrowly missing a deputy U.S. Marshal and two special deputy U.S. Marshals.

Brown then jumped out of a window and fired a shot that fatally struck Keltner, who was covering the exterior of the hotel.

Floyd E. Brown, 43, of Springfield.

Brown’s girlfriend, who was in the hotel room with him, was shot when Brown opened fire, police said.

Keltner was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Brown fled the scene in a vehicle and led Illinois State Police and other agencies on a 150-mile pursuit.

Pursuit speed reached over 100 mph until Brown’s vehicle came to a stop on Interstate 55 near Lincoln, Illinois when he ran over spike strips.

A grand jury indictment said that Brown used a Romarm WASR-10 rifle to shoot and kill Keltner.

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Police also recovered two 9mm pistols and a .223 caliber rifle in Brown’s possession.

All four guns had their serial numbers removed, the indictment said. Police seized over 1,000 rounds of ammunition from Brown at the time of his arrest.

Keltner, who had almost 13 years of service with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, left behind his wife and two young children.

Brown went on trial in March 2022 after he was federally charged with multiple felonies for shooting Keltner, 35.

McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim talks with sheriff’s deputies outside of the Extended Stay Hotel, 747 North Bell School Road in Rockford, after a McHenry County Sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot on March 7, 2019. | Photo: LMCS File

Brown was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder of a government officer, two counts of assaulting or impeding a federal officer, unlawful transport of firearms, possession of defaced firearms, firearm possession in furtherance of violent crime where death occurs and firearm possession in furtherance of violent crime.

A jury found Brown guilty of all charges except for first-degree murder, which is considered premeditated murder.

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The jury, however, found Brown guilty of second-degree murder, which is considered murder that is not premeditated.

Brown faced up to life in prison. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced him to 55 years in federal prison in August.

“Through the violent actions of Floyd Brown, the Keltner family lost a devoted son, husband and father, and the citizens of the Northern District of Illinois lost a dedicated public servant,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch said at the time.

“Special Deputy Keltner made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation.  His bravery and dedication will not be forgotten.  We remain committed to prosecuting violence against federal law enforcement officers to the fullest extent of the law,” Lausch added.