As we briefly discussed last Friday, the Daily Herald inexplicably endorsed incumbent Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer over the eminently more qualified Sgt. Ron Hain with absolutely no mention of the Delnor hostage standoff. It truly is a new low for that newspaper’s editorial board.
If you recall, a nurse was raped, beaten and shot, but Sheriff Kramer still couldn’t be bothered to show up to the scene of what became national news story. He said his big toe hurt.
But that wasn’t nearly his only failure, it was simply his worst. So, let’s review the Sheriff’s incredibly poor decision making that led to an incredibly brave woman’s life being irretrievably altered.
1. Tywon Salters was a known risk
Both Kramer and his command staff knew Salters was not only more unstable that most inmates, but he was also an escape risk. So, when Salters ate half of a prison issued plastic shoe and he required surgery as a result, that should’ve been a massive red flag.
When this scenario was brought to his attention – and it was – Kramer should’ve assigned two deputies to accompany Salters at Delnor. We’re certainly not talking rocket science here folks!
2. Shawn Loomis was NOT the right deputy
To make matters much worse, instead of assigning two officers, Kramer let Loomis guard Salters solo.
Loomis had a well-documented series of crises of confidence as a Sheriff’s deputy, and Kramer and his supervisors knew all about it. I know unions protect employees, but that didn’t mean he should ever have been assigned to guard a prisoner who had escape on his mind.
3. There was no struggle for the gun
I know what the reports say, but that’s just another Kramer coverup. Salters was allowed to regularly shower, and on that fateful day, he burst out of the bathroom buck naked, demanded the guard’s weapon, Loomis turned it over without a struggle, and then he fled the room leaving two nurses with the now-armed Salters.
But why listen to me? Here’s an excerpt from the Illinois State Police summary report on that tragic day:
Salters was wearing only a white cloth bandage across his torso and locked the door. He demanded the nurse take off her clothes and pointed the gun at her. Salters took her pink hospital scrubs, white medical coat and New Balance shoes and put them on. He then demanded her phone and car keys. Salters seemed very rushed and told her “we have to hurry.” The nurse said she tried to stall and said she couldn’t leave because she did not have any clothes on.
The nurse said she thought about her two young boys and began to cry, and Salters got mad at her and told her to be quiet.
She said that, 98 percent of the time, Salters had her in a headlock with his left arm while he pointed a gun to her head.
Salters changed the woman’s passcode on her phone and he instructed her on who to call. “Sorry you’re in this (expletive), but depending on what the cops do, we may both be leaving in body bags,” Salters said
During one call, Salters held a gun to a nurse’s head while he did a video chat with a family member who pleaded with him to release the nurse. “You gave up on me, walked away from me, now I’m going to kill myself,” Salters replied.
The nurse tried to get him to think of someone to live for, but he said he had no girlfriend or children. He told her “I’m dealing with these rigged charges” and said he did not do what he was accused of doing.
The nurse said Salters began to cry, saying “they aren’t taking me serious” and “they ruined my life.” I’ll either die in here or in the car trying to get away.” He told police, “if you shoot, I’ll blow her brains out.”
Salters told the nurse “You’re getting punished for them not getting my car.” Then Salters fired a shot out into the room, which took the nurse by surprise, and within seconds police officers came through the door.
And remember! The initial news stories reported that this brave woman exchanged herself for two co-workers who were initially taken hostage. Meanwhile, Sheriff Kramer didn’t bother show up at Delnor because he hurt his big toe at an Arizona conference the previous week.
And somehow the Daily Herald endorsed him anyway? Fricken’ unbelievable! May I humbly suggest that you cancel your subscription to that poor excuse for a newspaper if you still have one.
I’ve rarely been at a loss for an explanation in 12 years as a journalist, but this one has me utterly stumped. All I can say is, I’ll be voting for Ron Hain.