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Cop, suspects ID'd in heroic robbery response

A deputy shot 4 suspects to stop an armed robbery at Marie's Pizza

By PoliceOne Staff

ROCKFORD, Ill. — The officer and suspects involved in an attempted armed robbery at Marie's Pizza have been identified and charged, it was announced Tuesday.

Deputy Frank Pobjecky was not officially on the clock when one of the four suspects pointed a gun at him on Saturday night, but he managed to grab a firearm out of an employee's waistband and use it to shoot the suspects and stop the robbery.

Brandon Sago, 22; Desmond Bellmon, 23; Lamar Coates, 23; all of Rockford, are charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, armed robbery, and attempted armed robbery, according to WREX. They will be held without bail after they are released from the hospital, where they are being treated for injuries sustained in the shooting.

Michael Sago, 16, died at the scene. He was Brandon Sago's cousin.

Police Chief Chet Epperson said the community should take notice of the charges.

"Actions have consequences," he said, warning that police will identify and build a case against anyone who commits a crime in Rockford.

Marie's Pizza has reopened, but some say they now have safety concerns.

"It'll always be in the back of my mind," Alyssa Sturdevant said. Sturdevant lives near the restaurant.

Because Pobjecky acted quickly despite lacking a weapon, backup, and other resources that would have been available to an on-duty officer, the incident is especially noteworthy, police officials said.

Citizens, too, are thankful for Pobjecky, who is a 29-year-old U.S. Army veteran who served a tour of duty in Iraq before joining the county police 3½ years ago.

"I'm glad that the guy who was there was there when he was," a resident said.

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