Illinois Sheriff’s Deputy Killed Himself During Standoff With Police

FAIRFIELD, Ill. — A former Wayne County, Illinois sheriff’s deputy killed himself during a standoff with police Thursday night.

Police were called to Lee Rankin’s home north of Fairfield on Thursday night to investigate a domestic disturbance. Rankin’s wife and children were able to flee the home as the situation escalated.

Court records show Rankin’s wife filed for divorce on Sept. 29 and he had only recently been served with court papers.

At some point during the standoff, police said they heard a gunshot from inside the home. A SWAT team robot was deployed which sent back video confirming Rankin was dead.

The events leading up to Rankin’s death go back more than a year. On May 30, 2016, Rankin was arrested on a charge of domestic battery for allegedly beating his wife. Because of the charge, Rankin was suspended by Wayne County Sheriff Mike Everett.

Out of the domestic violence charge, a new felony charge – criminal damage to state supported property — was filed.

Rankin was accused of breaking a conference room table at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

In June of this year, Rankin appeared in Wayne County Circuit Court and entered a negotiated guilty plea. In return, the state reduced the charge of criminal damage to state supported property from a felony to a misdemeanor. The state dropped the domestic battery charge.

By reducing the criminal damage charge to a misdemeanor, Rankin was able to legally keep his guns.

Wayne County Coroner Jimmy Taylor said Rankin died from a single gunshot wound to the head from a shotgun.

Rankin had been a member of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department since 2003 and had also been a member of the same SWAT team that responded to the standoff Thursday night.