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Rockford Police, Businesses Combat Late Night Crime

After a rash of gas station shootings, the spotlight shines on late night business and the crowds that gather with no place to go. Police say they are working with businesses to find solutions.
You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
ROCKFORD (WTVO) -- It is a late night issue that doesn't make a lot of sense.

"When I was working nights, I always thought 'why didn't you people just go home?'" said Rockford Police Lt. Patrick Hoey. "It's 2 in the morning, you've been out at the bars, the bars closed, you know people just don't want to go home."

Hoey knows it doesn't take much to get something started.

"It's as easy as 1 car pulling in, another car pulling in there, and then they start texting saying we're hangin out over here. and then they start drinking their left over beer and vodka and the next thing you know you have a party. A disagreement breaks out, shots are fired and someone's injured."

In the case of Saturday morning's shooting at a Mobil gas station that left 22-year-old Jordan Bounsinh dead of a gun shot wound to the dead. Police say a fight spilled outside of the convienence store and 19-year-old Tronte Pickett fired the fatal shot. He's been charged with first-degree murder, however, police have yet to apprehend him. The gas station has agreed to start closing its doors at 1 AM on weekends to ward off the crowds that hover around the property.

Another shooting in June prompted a Marathon gas station on 11th Street to take similar action. Plus, there have been shootings at gas stations in Freeport and Belvidere in recent months as well.

"Between 11 and 2, it really gets busy," says Ronmius Patterson, a BP gas station employee on Rockford's westside. "Drunks and stuff wanna come in and get their last hit."

But is there a way to handle late night business? Patterson's store closes for an hour while the crew cleans the store.

"We give them suggestions," Hoey said. "Obviously when the close their doors it has a financial impact on them. They're not selling anything, but then we explain to them it doesn't bode well for business when you have someone lying dead in your parking lot."

"When you have a store, business is your number one priority and the safety of your workers," says Patterson. "So I think that any suggestion by the police would be taken by the owners as a good idea."

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