Family, friends, local law enforcement pay tribute to fallen Riverdale officer

2014-02-04T16:45:00Z 2014-02-04T19:07:11Z Family, friends, local law enforcement pay tribute to fallen Riverdale officerTimes Staff
February 04, 2014 4:45 pm  • 

LANSING | The family of William "Wally" Rolniak Jr., a Riverdale police officer fatally shot while on duty on Feb. 4, 2004, hosted a memorial Mass in his honor on Tuesday at St. Ann Catholic Church.

Rolniak was shot and killed execution style after being taken hostage inside the Riverdale police station, according to the website Officer Down Memorial Page.

A suspect had been in custody on charges of attempted murder, home invasion and aggravated kidnapping. An assistant state's attorney had just finished interviewing the suspect, who was being transferred from an interview room to the lockup when he grabbed Rolniak's service weapon out of its holster at approximately 8:15 p.m. The suspect was not handcuffed at the time because he had been cooperating with authorities, the website said.

The suspect then forced Rolniak out of the police station, took him behind a building across the street and shot him in the head. The suspect attempted to flee by trying to carjack three different vehicles, shooting and wounding an elderly man who refused to give up his vehicle, the website states.

Three other officers followed in pursuit and ordered him to drop the weapon, but instead, he aimed the gun at the officers, who then shot and killed him. Rolniak was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he died two hours later.

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