Beloit police cleared in shooting
Statement issued by Rock County District Attorney's office Friday.
Rock County District Attorney David J. O’Leary announced today that he has received and reviewed the investigative reports prepared by the State of Wisconsin, Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, including reports from the Beloit Police Department, concerning the police officer involved shooting which occurred on May 11, 2014 in the City of Beloit.
The incident began at approximately 7:40 p.m. when officers were dispatched to 934 Tenth Street in the City of Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin for an unwanted person. Officers observed two individuals, later identified as Christopher T. Rutherford and Sheila M. Rosenbaum, struggling over car keys. Officers separated the two and observed that Rutherford was in possession of a knife. Rutherford ignored officers’ commands to stop, and proceeded to enter a van and start the engine. An attempt to use a taser to control Rutherford was unsuccessful. Rutherford subsequently shifted the van into gear and fled from the police at a high rate of speed. In doing so, Rutherford struck and ran over Rosenbaum, who died as a result of her injuries. Officers shot at the van as Rutherford was fleeing the scene and struck Rutherford in the shoulder. Rutherford was subsequently treated and released from the hospital. Rutherford is charged with 1st degree reckless homicide in Rock County Circuit Court Case No. 2014CF922 as a result of this incident and that case remains pending at this time. (Pursuant to the directive of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, SCR 20:3.6, Trial Publicity, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)
After reviewing the investigative reports, it is abundantly clear that the officers acted lawfully and in accordance to their duty as sworn law enforcement officers when they fired upon the van being driven from the scene by Rutherford. They were attempting to protect not only their own lives, but the life of Rosenbaum and other citizens in the area who were endangered by Rutherford’s behavior.
District Attorney O’Leary wishes to commend the officers for their actions in attempting to prevent further loss of life. District Attorney O’Leary further wishes to publicly commend the heroic actions of Timothy Baars. Baars told officers that he knew this subject had something to do with the shots being fired and was upset that he had run into his tree. Baars therefore ran after and subdued Rutherford until the police arrived and took him into custody.
District Attorney O’Leary wishes to extend his condolences to the family of Sheila N. Rosenbaum.