Police Chief who was credited with saving a young woman’s life killed hours before Easter Sunday

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HAMPTON, IL– The Rock Island County Coroner confirmed Sunday morning that Hampton Police Chief Terry Engle, 57 years old, died in a car crash Saturday evening. The chief was responding to a 911 call in an unmarked vehicle. It’s unclear at this time but appears as if it may have been in his personal vehicle.

[For clarity, this Chief Engle is not the same Chief Engle that is currently under scrutiny for alleged anti-homosexual remarks made in Florida regarding a deceased officer.]

The crash occurred around 6:45 p.m. on Illinois Route 84 northbound at 180th Street North. The cause of death was said to be multiple traumatic injuries after his vehicle veered off the road for unknown reasons and hit a tree.

Chief Engle served in the law enforcement community for about 35 years. He started as a part-time patrol officer at BlackHawk College and worked his way up to lieutenant. He resigned in 2018 but was hired back as police chief last October.

According to the Quad City Times:

“Engle received the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators 2000 IACLEA Award of Valor with Sgt. Don Boysen, and officer Bob Johnson of Black Hawk College in Moline.

On the morning of Oct. 29, 1999, a student came to the campus to meet with his estranged girlfriend, who had filed an order of protection against him.

Because they both were Black Hawk students, the order did not prohibit him from coming on campus. It did prohibit him from coming within 200 feet of her while on campus.

When she saw his car in the parking lot, she called campus police. Boysen responded to the call. He met her and planned to escort her to her car. He notified Engle and Johnson to look for the suspect.

They found and stopped the suspect and explained the order of protection. 

The man told officers he was on campus to meet with an instructor. The officers convinced the man to leave campus and return after his former girlfriend had left. 

When he was driving out of the lot, the man saw the woman and her mother, who had come to pick up her daughter after class, walk out of a building with Boysen. 

The man, who had been driving out of the lot, turned his car around and drove toward his ex-girlfriend and her mother. He stopped and got out, shouting at the young woman she had ruined his life.

Boysen walked toward the man to keep him from moving toward his ex-girlfriend, and then the man retrieved a shotgun from the back seat of his car.

He pointed the gun at Boysen and began yelling again at the young woman. Boysen drew his weapon and told the man to drop the gun. 

Engle and Johnson also pulled their weapons and flanked Boysen. The man then swung the shotgun around and pointed it at his ex-girlfriend and her mother.

Boysen placed himself directly between the suspect and his ex-girlfriend and continued to shout at the suspect to distract him long enough for Engle to remove the two women from the scene.

The young man then pointed the shotgun at himself and started backing away from the officers. He took up a position between two rows of parked cars.

Johnson continued to provide cover for Boysen, while Engle cleared students from the parking lot and called Moline police for help.

Boysen continued to talk with man for the next 20 to 25 minutes. Moline police negotiators eventually began talking with the suspect who, about 90 minutes later, killed himself.”

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

Last week, Law Enforcement Today reported on the murder of an officer while she was laying stop sticks. Her murderer is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Prosecutors handling the case of the murder of Springdale Officer Kaia Grant in March of this year have brought aggravated murder charges against the suspect involved.

Apparently the death penalty is being sought as well, but there’s more to this case that creates complexities outside of the ongoing pandemic.

Joe Deters, the prosecutor in the case, was alongside Attorney General David Yost on April 8th to reveal the charges levied against 42-year-old Larry Blankenship.

As stated, Deters intends to ask the grand jury to have the death penalty considered in the case, but Hamilton County authorities stated that the grand jury cannot meet yet due to the COVID-19 concerns.

Even if the grand jury were able to convene, there’s still the fact that Blankenship is in the hospital. On March 21st, police say that Blankenship intentionally drove his vehicle toward two parked police vehicles located on Interstate 275.

The impact of the crash resulted in Officer Grant going airborne, as she was attempting to deploy stop sticks to disable the suspect’s vehicle. She was later pronounced dead.

What hasn’t been heavily reported was what Blankenship did next. Police had stated that a single gunshot was heard after the crash, but it wasn’t an officer’s gun that went off.

When officers caught up to the suspect’s vehicle, they found Blankenship with “extensive facial injuries as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.” Laying next to the suspect was a loaded .45 caliber handgun.

Not much has been detailed regarding the suspect’s condition in the hospital, but self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head rarely leave room for survivability. So, seeing that the suspect is still alive, chances are he’ll be in the hospital for a long time (assuming complications don’t surface and cause him to die). 

Yet, all that has been revealed is that he’s still in the hospital.

Deters, despite acknowledging that Blankenship’s medical state could pose hindrances to the case being prosecuted, noted that justice will be delivered:

“I can promise you we’re going to seek justice for Officer Grant.”

We hope they’re able to do that.

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