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‘He was courageous’ | Officer Timmins remembered at Tuesday funeral

Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyler Timmins was killed in a shooting on Oct. 26, 2021.
Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyler Timmins was killed in a shooting on Oct. 26, 2021.(Family of Officer Tyler Timmins.)
Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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PONTOON BEACH, Ill. (KMOV) -- The life of fallen Pontoon Beach Officer Tyler Timmins was remembered at a funeral service Tuesday.

His wife, Linsey, called Timmins her hero and said he never complained about his job and believed that being a police officer is what God called him to do. “Every day he woke up and put on that uniform, strapped on that vest to his chest and walked out of our door, he was courageous,” she said.

Friends and family paid their respect by sharing fond memories both at Monday’s visitation and during Tuesday’s funeral service at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville.

Family-friend Darla Becker recalled spending time with Timmins and his brother, “Tyler and his brother would come and watch the games. They went to Wood River but would come and watch the games, play hockey. He never met a stranger, great, great guy, you couldn’t ask for a better guy.”

Officer Timmins’ brother, Jake Timmins, spoke at Tuesday’s funeral and called his brother the “family protector.” He told a story about something that happened to Timmins as a teenager that helped steer him toward a career in law enforcement.

“One of Tyler’s first jobs was working at the Wood River Bowl. During that time Tyler had a run-in with a robbery at the front desk where he was robbed at gunpoint when he was probably just 16 or 17-years-old. Thankfully nobody was hurt, but I’m positive that was one of the experiences that fueled Tyler’s desire to get into law enforcement,” he said.

Pontoon Beach Police Chief Chris Modrusic spoke before Timmins’ funeral about the outreach from the community.

“I never thought we’d get this much support from the community, local businesses, just everybody in general and other police departments,” Modrusic said. “Everybody’s just helped to try and ease our pain in this troubling time.”

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the country attended the funeral service, some coming from as far away as Phoenix, Dallas and Chicago. After the funeral, a procession of over 100 police cars escorted the hearse carrying Timmins’ casket to Woodland Hill Cemetery in East Alton, where a private graveside service was held.

For the last week, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office has been handling all calls for service in Pontoon Beach while employees of the police department mourned. Chief Mondrusic said the department will return to normal operations Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. but that counselors will be available and that he’s considering getting a support dog for the department.

After Officer Timmins’ death, his family released the following statement through the Illinois State Police Department:

“The family of Officer Tyler Timmins mourns the loss of our son, husband, father, brother and friend. We would like to thank the law enforcement community and the thousands of others who have expressed their love, support and concern.

Tyler was the epitome of compassion, empathy and caring throughout his life. He gained notoriety on October 26th when he was senselessly killed in the line of duty. To many he was a hero that day, for us he has been a hero since day one.

There are no words to describe what was taken from us. We will always remember his devotion to his family, his dedication to his career and community, and the love and laughter that he shared with us.

It is our understanding that the suspect in Tyler’s murder is in custody, however the family kindly requests that you respect our privacy during this time of mourning. We will not be making any comment on the ongoing investigation. Further media inquiries can be made to ISP.PIO.Personnel@Illinois.gov.”

The shooting

Officials with the Illinois State Police said Officer Timmins was shot Tuesday, Oct. 26 while approaching a suspected stolen vehicle at the Speedway gas station on Route 111 near E. Chain of Rocks Rd. before 8 a.m. Scott Hyden was taken into custody on the scene and later charged. Two other people were also arrested but no further charges in Timmins’ death are expected.

Officer Timmins was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and later pronounced dead. The BackStoppers are assisting the officer’s family.

Russell Morrow was headed to work across the street from the Speedway when he heard the gunshots. “I heard was ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,’ gunshots and I walked over there, and there was only two cop cars over there. They arrested one guy lying on the ground, I guess he stole a vehicle, that’s what I heard,” he said.

After the shooting, Morrow said officers started doing CPR on the injured officer. The officers then worked to get the injured officer into a police car. “I slid myself through a police car trying to help pull him through the police car so they could get him to the hospital,” explained Morrow.

While talking to News 4 Morrow said he still had the officer’s blood on him. He did not know how many times the officer was shot during the incident.

“Yesterday was a tragic day. And though we will continue to honor - and mourn - Officer Timmins, the work of justice now begins. Our police officers are heroes,” Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine said in a press released. “Violent attacks on police are absolutely unacceptable in our community. Those who attack police officers – public servants who have dedicated their lives to protecting us all from harm - will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

After Timmins’ death, Senator Dick Durbin took to Twitter to send his condolences to Officer Timmins’ family. “Sending condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Officer Tyler Timmons, who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting his community. May he rest in peace,” he wrote.

Officer Timmins, 36, had been an officer in Madison County for 14 years. He served in Roxana, Worden and Hartford before joining the Pontoon Beach police force in April 2020. A GoFundMe page has been created to help Timmins’ family.

The suspect

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine was joined by Master Sgt. Elbert Jennings and Modrusic for an afternoon press conference a day after Officer Timmins was killed to announce charges against Scott Hyden. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, discharge of a firearm at a peace officer, unlawful possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of a stolen firearm.

Hyden, of Highland, had an extensive criminal history that began in August 2010 when he was charged for damaging a man’s car. Then, in 2013, he was found with a stolen gun and heroin, and sentenced to just under three years in prison. After being released, Hyden was put on a supervised release, which he violated, and was sent back to prison. When he was released under supervision for a second time, Hyden received another drug charge and was sent back to prison.

In June 2021, Hyden was charged for using a stolen debit card. In that case, News 4 uncovered he had a warrant out for his arrest.

The first-degree murder charges carry sentences of 45 years to life in prison.

“Let me be clear, we will absolutely be seeking the maximum sentence in this case,” Haine said.