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FBI: Defendant searched for police ambush videos before allegedly killing deputy

Rockford Register Star logo Rockford Register Star 4/9/2022 Jim Hagerty, Rockford Register Star
The Stanley J. Roszkowski U.S. Courthouse is at 327 S. Church St., Rockford. © MAX GERSH/ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR The Stanley J. Roszkowski U.S. Courthouse is at 327 S. Church St., Rockford.

ROCKFORD — Accused cop killer Floyd Brown was watching news clips and videos about police ambushes more than two months before he allegedly fatally shot McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner at a Rockford hotel, according to the testimony of a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Special Agent Jeremy Smith testified in Brown’s federal murder trial Thursday, telling the jury that he examined the browser history on an HP laptop believed to be Brown’s and uncovered numerous web searches.

Smith said one search was “cop get ambushed” that produced video links and news stories about law enforcement officers being shot in the line of duty. 

Smith added that on Jan. 13, 2019, someone, from Brown’s laptop, searched YouTube for “U.S. Marshal shot”, which produced a clip depicting what would eventually happen to Keltner outside the Extended Stay in Rockford. 

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“It’s a YouTube video entitled, ‘Moments after a U.S. Marshal was shot and killed while serving felony warrant’,” Smith told the jury.

The searches on the laptop began on Jan. 5, 2019, Smith told the jury. Keltner was gunned down March 7, 2019.

A Dec. 29, 2018, surveillance video obtained from Best Buy in Rockford and played in court Thursday shows two people believed to be Brown and his girlfriend, Drianna Wright, purchase what prosecutors say is the HP computer recovered from their third-floor hotel room after the shooting. 

Wright checked the couple in to the Extended Stay America on Dec. 27, 2018, Smith testified.

On a Samsung phone found in the room, Smith testified that there were searches like those found on the laptop, as well as visits to retail gun websites and inquiries about how to clean firearms, specifically an AK-47 rifle.

A WASR-10, a variant of the AK-47, was found in Brown’s car when he was arrested near Lincoln, Illinois. Investigators also recovered two 9mm handguns and an M1A, a version of the Ruger Mini-14—a semi-automatic rifle that fires .223 caliber rounds. 

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Smith testified that on on Jan. 12, 2019, the HP laptop was used to perform a Bing search that read, “Can a bulletproof vest stop a 223 round.”

Prosecutors played a series of videos found on the Samsung phone, during which Brown describes his contempt for law enforcement.

“I’ve got so much hatred for these motherf-----s,” he says in one clip.

In another, Brown claims he will make the police “famous.”

Brown took the stand in his own defense Thursday. And while he didn’t admit to shooting Keltner, he did not deny firing multiple rounds through the door of his hotel room as other members of the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force came to arrest him. 

The 42-year-old Springfield resident also testified that he was abused as a child. 

Brown was wanted in a string of burglaries in Bloomington when Keltner was shot. 

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Prosecutors say after firing through the door and walls of this hotel room, he jumped from a third-floor window and shot Keltner, who was positioned outside. He then fled downstate and was arrested near Lincoln when he crashed his car in a drainage ditch.

The government and the defense rested Thursday. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday. 

Brown is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault, and an array of weapons offenses.

Jim Hagerty:; @jimhagerty

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: FBI: Defendant searched for police ambush videos before allegedly killing deputy


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