Danville-area man gets 45 years for shooting cop

Danville-area man gets 45 years for shooting cop

DANVILLE — A 24-year-old Danville-area man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for shooting and injuring a Danville police officer a little more than two months ago.

Vermilion County Circuit Judge Nancy Fahey sentenced Michael C. Rouse earlier this week after Rouse pleaded guilty to one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, a Class X felony, in connection with the May 30 shooting of Sgt. John Thompson.

Prosecutors agreed to drop Rouse's other charges in the case — one count of aggravated battery involving a firearm and police officer, a Class X felony; four counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, Class 1 felonies; and one count of armed robbery (from a separate case), a Class X felony.

Assistant State's Attorney Sandy Lawlyes said Rouse must serve 85 percent of his sentence — or roughly 38 years. Prosecutors are satisfied with the case's quick resolution, she added.

Thompson, a 16-year veteran on the force, was shot several times — twice in the arm and once on his back side — around 5:30 p.m., while patrolling the 200 block of Kentucky Avenue.

The officer saw Rouse walking in the area and thought he matched the description of a suspect in an armed robbery at the Family Dollar, at 1228 E. Main St. that occurred two days earlier. When he pulled up and got out of his squad car, the man turned, fired at him and ran from the scene.

Rouse was spotted going into a house in the 2600 block of Cannon Street the next evening. He surrendered to authorities after a three-hour standoff.

Lawlyes said Rouse told detectives that he shot at Thompson because he mistook him for a gang member. He claimed some Latin King gang members had previously shot at him.

"He stated that after he realized (Thompson) was a police officer, he kept shooting because he thought the officer would try to shoot him," the prosecutor said.

At Rouse's June 18 preliminary hearing, another police officer testified that Rouse told police he robbed the Family Dollar because he was living on the streets and needed money.He got $103 and some cigarettes in the robbery.

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