ROCKFORD, Ill. — Last Friday’s standoff at Heritage Credit Union sparked reaction from all parts of the community.
“As with any of these major incidents, we’ll do a full review on our end,” said Rockford mayor Tom McNamara. “I think I owe it to the court system to make sure I’m as well-educated as I can be on the issues that they’re facing and how something like this could have occurred.”
Three days after an hours long standoff shook the Forest City, Rockford city officials are speaking out.
McNamara expressed gratitude to first responders called into action on January 3rd, also showing sympathy as details of the violent actions that took place inside the bank came to light.
The mayor says events like the hostage situation brings to light a the bigger issue of domestic violence within the community.
“This incident highlights a whole host of issues, and each one of them is more troubling than the next,” said McNamara.
The man at the center of the standoff is Nicholas August.
In the past, August has pleaded guilty to endangering the life of a child and multiple counts of domestic battery.
Records also show several women have filed emergency orders of protection against him, the most recent was granted last month.
“There is an increasing move in the state of Illinois over the last three or five years. The prosecutors, the state’s attorneys and the state have lobbied against it,” Winnebago County State’s Attorney Chief of Staff Mike Rock says liberal bail situations could be to blame.
“You have people who are in custody on misdemeanors and those kinds of offenses, where they’re being allowed to be released from custody without posting anything just by the sheer fact that they’ve been in custody for some time and received credit for sitting,” said Rock.
The mayor added he shares the public’s frustration regarding August’s history, and plans on meeting with the courts to learn more about these kinds of cases.