Autopsies: Rockford officer fatally shot suspect before dying in crash

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Officer Jaimie Cox (Rockford Illinois Police Department)

ROCKFORD (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Authorities determined Monday that a Rockford police officer killed in a crash early Sunday had fatally shot the man whose vehicle he was trying to pull over during a traffic stop.

The Winnebago County coroner’s office conducted autopsies Monday on officer Jaimie Cox, 30, and Eddie Patterson, 49, according to Rockford police. They found that Cox died of blunt-force trauma caused by the crash with Patterson’s vehicle, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Patterson died of gunshot wounds believed to have been fired by Cox, police said. He also suffered injuries from the crash.

The incident happened just after 1 a.m. Sunday, when Cox made a traffic stop near State Street and Dawn Avenue, Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said during a Sunday news conference. A short time later, Cox made a brief radio transmission asking for help.

Responding officers found a one-vehicle crash about two blocks north of where the initial traffic stop happened, O’Shea said. Patterson was found dead inside the crashed vehicle.

Cox was found critically injured at the scene and was taken to Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, where he was later pronounced dead, O’Shea said.

The preliminary investigation indicates that Cox was involved in a scuffle during the traffic stop, resulting in him “becoming entangled with” Patterson’s vehicle and firing his weapon, O’Shea said.

The Winnebago Boone County Integrity Task Force has been activated to investigate the shooting and use of force by Cox, police said. The task force is activated whenever there is an officer-related shooting and it is believed an officer discharged their weapon.

“We are overwhelmed and grateful for support we have received both here and throughout the nation,” O’Shea said. “Continue supporting us, pray for Jaimie, pray for his wife, pray for his family, and pray for us.”

Cox, who started working for the Rockford Police Department in December 2016, was escorted to the coroner’s office Sunday morning by police from Rockford and surrounding jurisdictions.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Officer Jaimie Cox,” Gov. Rauner said in an emailed statement Sunday.

“He paid the ultimate price while working to keep our communities safe. My thoughts and prayers are with his family as they find a way to cope with this tragic loss,” Rauner said.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Rockford police at (815) 966-2900 or Crime Stoppers at (815) 963-7867.

Visitation for Cox will be held from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at First Free Evangelical Church, 2223 N. Mulford Road, with the law enforcement walkthrough scheduled for 6 p.m., police said.

Cox’s funeral service will begin about 10 a.m. Saturday at the church, and a procession will follow immediately after the service, police said. Details on the procession route were still being worked out Monday night.