Off-duty sheriff’s deputy shoots four suspects in thwarted robbery of Marie’s Pizza, one suspect dead
Online Staff Report
UPDATE: Rockford police have announced the following as suspects in the case: Desmond Bellmon, 23, of Rockford; Brandon Sago, 22, of Rockford; Lamar Coates, 23, of Rockford; and Michael D. Sago, 16, of Rockford, deceased. Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the Shift Commander at (815) 987-5824 or Lt. Marc Welsh at (815) 967-6976.
Winnebago County Sheriff Richard Meyers has released information concerning the armed robbery and shooting that occurred at Marie’s Pizza, 1513 Charles St., in Rockford Saturday night, Oct. 1.
At about 10:40 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, four individuals entered the pizzeria carrying a handgun. An employee at the pizzeria had a gun and an off-duty Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputy happened to be in the restaurant visiting a friend.
Following an altercation over the weapon, the off-duty officer, since identified as 29-year-old Frank Pobjecky, shot all four suspects.
At about 1:20 a.m., one of the suspects, 16-year-old Michael D. Sago of Rockford, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other suspects are being treated for their wounds.
The restaurant, owned by Vince and Maria Tarara of Belvidere, remains closed as of Monday, Oct. 3.
According to information released by the Sheriff’s Office Monday, Oct. 3, Pobjecky was off duty at the time of the incident. He was a customer patronizing the business, and he was acquainted with the establishment’s owner and family.
Pobjecky was hired by the Sheriff’s Office as a deputy May 9, 2008, and is a veteran of the United States Army. During his enlistment in the Army, Pobjecky was deployed to Iraq.
Pobjecky is currently on paid administrative leave, which is the standard department procedure for these types of incidents.
The Rockford Police Department continues to conduct the investigation into this incident. When the criminal investigation is complete, Sheriff’s personnel will conduct an administrative review of this matter.
Although those processes are yet to be complete and this is not a final decision or determination of what occurred, the Sheriff’s Office has said it appears Pobjecky reacted in a manner consistent with departmental policy and his training when faced with a violent, life-threatening confrontation with multiple armed robbery suspects.
Pobjecky’s actions were dictated by the actions of four individuals who were committing a violent forcible felony, the Sheriff’s Office said.
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