Hunt continues for man suspected in fatal shooting
JANESVILLE The Janesville woman killed in a shooting Sunday was a mother who spent the last two years of her life helping former prisoners return to society.
Lori A. Daniels, 36, is being mourned by fellow workers at Rock Valley Community Programs, said the program's executive director, Angel Eggers.
"There's not enough good things I can say about her," Eggers said. "It's a huge loss for her family and her family at Rock Valley."
Daniels of 3100 Glenbarr Drive was the mother of two children, a teenage girl and a girl in second grade, neighbors said.
Daniels was a renter who moved into the modest, one-story home about two months ago, neighbors said.
"I don't know if anybody knew her, because she was so quiet," neighbor Heather Brady said.
"She'd wave to us if she was out, but that was about it," said Heather's husband, Brian Brady.
Daniels died from at least one gunshot early Sunday while riding in a private vehicle on Interstate 90/39 just south of the Illinois border, the Illinois State Police report.
A warrant charging murder has been issued for Kody R.P. Walsh, 22, of Rockford, Ill., said Lt. Kurt Cavanaugh of the state police.
Walsh escaped capture after a high-speed chase Sunday and remained at large Monday night.
"We consider him armed and extremely dangerous, just for the fact that it's very unclear why this happened," Cavanaugh said.
Investigators say Walsh and a Beloit man were at the State Street Station in Rockford, Ill., on Saturday night, and they met Daniels there.
Daniels and the men were acquainted but were not friends, said Capt. Vince Sciame of Beloit police.
State Street Station calls itself a gentleman's club. Daniels did not work at the club, Sciame said.
Daniels asked the men for a ride to Beloit, and they took her in the Beloit man's Ford Explorer at about 2 a.m. Sunday, Cavanaugh said.
Walsh was in the back seat while Daniels rode in the front passenger seat, Cavanaugh said. Investigators say they don't know why, but they believe Walsh shot Daniels at least once in the head while the SUV was northbound on Interstate 90/39, near Highway 173, which is near Machesney Park, Ill.
Cavanaugh said Walsh threatened the Beloit man, who did as he was told, driving to the Beloit man's home. There, Walsh assaulted the man. Cavanaugh would not describe the assault.
Walsh then took the man's SUV and drove back south on the Interstate.
Beloit police received a report of the Beloit man "going crazy in his yard" at about 3 a.m.
After hearing the man's story, police broadcasted a description of the SUV, and a South Beloit police officer soon spotted it. The South Beloit officer and a Rockton officer tried to stop the vehicle. A high-speed chase ensued.
Walsh allegedly crashed the SUV in the town of Rockford and fled on foot. Officers chased him, and Walsh shot at them once, Cavanaugh said.
The officers did not return fire because they did not know what was in their range of fire, Cavanaugh said.
Rockford police and Winnebago County sheriff's deputies set up a perimeter, but Walsh somehow slipped through, Cavanaugh said.
Walsh has a record with the Illinois Department of Corrections, but Cavanaugh did not have details Monday.
Daniels' family identified the body, and an autopsy was performed Monday, Cavanaugh said.
"It's an awful shock," Eggers said Monday night. "As person and an employee, she was a dedicated, competent, compassionate individual that prided herself in her leadership. She was a great leader. She role-modeled the behavior that she wanted to see from staff and clients.
"There's not a bad thing I can say about her. She was wonderful. It's a huge loss to our agency. It's really been devastating."
Daniels started as on-call staff and soon moved into management, Eggers said.
"We work in the business of corrections and re-entry and with people who have victimized society in some way and work with them to re-enter the community," Eggers said.
"It's a senseless loss of life," Eggers added. "Lori was young. This shouldn't happen."