3 cops hurt, suspect killed after South Elgin standoff

A 52-year-old man was killed and three police officers were wounded early Wednesday morning during a shootout that followed a four-hour standoff on the 300 block of Woodridge Circle in South Elgin, police said.

The dead man was identified as Frank Dripps, 52, who authorities said opened fire on officers as he left his condominium after a lengthy standoff that began around 11 p.m. Tuesday and ended around 2:30 a.m.

None of the officers’ injuries were considered life-threatening and all were treated and released Wednesday, according to their respective departments.

South Elgin police had not had previous contact with Dripps, Sgt. Michael Doty said. He said police do not yet have a motive for Dripps’ actions and he did not know the full content of the negotiations the Kane County SWAT team conducted.

Dripps lived in the condominium, Doty said, and no one else was inside at the time.

Twenty people were displaced during the standoff, and a total of 11 police agencies responded, Doty said.

Doty said Dripps fired twice at South Elgin officers as they got out of their vehicles around 10:50 p.m. Tuesday and then later fired at least once at members of the Kane County SWAT team.

The initial call was for shots fired, Doty said.

“He initially told our officers that if they came near him, he would shoot them,” Doty said.

At one point, Dripps raised a weapon that had a scope to his shoulder. Doty said Dripps had a shotgun and a rifle. Police are investigating whether he owned them legally.

The wounded officers were part of the SWAT team, and came from the Geneva and Hanover Park police departments, and the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. None of the officers’ names were released.

Geneva Cmdr. Julie Nash said her department’s injured officer was treated at a hospital and released.

Hanover Park Deputy Chief Andrew Johnson said his department’s wounded officer also was released and expected to make a full recovery.

“We wish him, his wife and his young family well,” Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig said.

Kane County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Patrick Gengler said his agency’s deputy was treated at a hospital and released. He said the deputy’s name and information probably won’t be released until Thursday “so he can get some rest before we put that out there.”

A fourth officer, who fired the shot that killed Dripps, was taken to the hospital for observation as per standard procedure in such circumstances, Doty said.

The Kane County Major Crimes Task Force’s officer-involved-shooting team is investigating and will send its report to the Kane County state’s attorney’s office.

“The area is safe and it has always been safe. At this point in the investigation we don’t know why this happened,” Doty said.

He said it had been more than 20 years since there was an officer-involved shooting in South Elgin.

Jessica Kling, who lives in a neighboring building, said she’d casually gotten to know Dripps because he often was outside drinking as she walked her dog in the quiet neighborhood.

“He was a friendly guy, approachable,” Kling said.

She said Dripps and his wife, Paula, had moved from California to South Elgin about a year ago. He wasn’t working, she said, and had a lot of recent health problems.

The couple lived in the condo unit with members of the family they were leasing it from, Kling said. Though the Dripps had a daughter, Kling wasn’t sure where she is living.

Kling said she had just returned from a fireworks display Tuesday night and initially thought fireworks were going off nearby before realizing the noise was gunfire.

Another neighbor from across the street, Olu Elegbede, said Dripps was always nice and talkative when he saw him. Dripps encouraged Elegbede’s college studies and his aim to be a civil engineer, he said.

Jeremy Hooley has been living in his family’s condo in the same building as Dripps for about three months, but never got to know him. Nevertheless, he said he was hunkered inside, right beside where the police standoff with Dripps was taking place late Tuesday and early Wednesday. He was not evacuated by police and did not feel it was safe for he or his mother to leave, he said.

Though Hooley monitored the progress of the standoff all night on Facebook, he could not hear any of the details of what Dripps and police were saying to each other, he said.

Hooley said he called 911 about 2 a.m. Wednesday to make sure police were aware there were innocent people in his family’s unit.

He peeked out the window after 3 a.m. when both the sound of gunfire and postings on Facebook seemed to confirm the confrontation was over.

“I haven’t gotten to sleep at all yet,” Hooley said in the early afternoon.

A woman from the family from whom Dripps was renting his space in the unit declined to comment.

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