Downward spiral ends in shooting
But bills for the new home started coming in about the same time his concrete business was dwindling, said Paul Knaak, who lives two doors down from Harrington’s home at 11447 Minkey Road, Darien.
Knaak remembers Harrington introducing himself before Harrington bought the land on Minkey Road. They talked about his plans to move his concrete business, which several sources said was TJ Concrete, from Beloit to the new property. Harrington was ambitious and planned to convert old buildings on the property into equipment storage.
Harrington worked for months building the home and was enthusiastic about it, Knaak said.
“He was like a little kid who never got to play in the sandbox,” Knaak said.
Harrington, his wife, Michelle, and their four children—ages 14, 11, 7 and 5—moved into the six-bedroom home in June, Knaak said.
But during an argument in late July or early August, Harrington slapped his wife and then slapped their 14-year-old daughter when she tried to interfere, according to court documents.
The Harringtons put their new home up for sale in August.
When the “for sale” sign went up, things got bad in a hurry, Knaak said.
On Aug. 21, Harrington was involved in a two-hour standoff with police at the home.
Officers arrived at 11:30 a.m. that day, but Harrington already had fled. Harrington had been arguing with his wife when he slapped her. He left the house after threatening her, according to court documents.
When he returned, he was being chased by Clinton police. He drove into a storage garage and refused to come out, threatening violence to himself and police.
He was armed with a 9mm pistol and a shotgun.
Officers talked Harrington out of the building after he accidentally fired one of the weapons, according to court documents.
On Aug. 28, Michelle filed for divorce and requested a temporary restraining order.
The next day, Harrington was charged in connection with the Aug. 21 incident. The charges included domestic abuse of a child, two counts of battery, fleeing an officer, failure to comply with officers’ orders and dangerous use of a weapon.
He was released on a signature bond with orders to have no contact with his wife, no unsupervised contact with their children, no alcohol and no weapons. He also was ordered to take all his prescribed medications.
On Oct. 1, the judge in the Harringtons’ divorce case approved a stipulation and order. Among the requirements was that Harrington “continue all of his care counseling, treatment and medications as prescribed by his present mental health care provider.”
Harrington was allowed “unsupervised placement with the children two days per week for periods of four to five hours.” No overnight placements were allowed.
The documents stated Harrington’s home was to stay on the market but at a reduced price of $629,000.
On Oct. 25, a $17,500 construction lien was filed against Harrington by the contractor that had installed heating and air conditioning at the new house on Minkey Road.
Harrington apparently did not want to let some pricey parts of his dream house go. On Nov. 7, he reported a burglary at the Minkey Road home and the theft of a home theater system, six plasma TVs and a washer and dryer, total value of almost $62,000.
But on Dec. 13 he was arrested on a charge of obstructing for filing a false burglary report, and Rock County sheriff’s detectives classified the original burglary report as unfounded.
At 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Harrington, 36, appeared in Rock County Court in connection with charges from the Aug. 21 standoff.
Hours later, he was dead.
On Tuesday night, Harrington was fatally shot by a Clinton police officer and a Rock County deputy at 207 Mill St., Clinton.
The officers were responding to a threats complaint at the home when Harrington entered from the rear and fired one round from a shotgun, Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden said.
The shot struck Harrington’s mother-in-law, Marilyn Smith, 58. She was transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital, Rockford, Ill. by helicopter. She was in serious condition this morning.