The aunt of the woman killed by a stray bullet at the Fairgrounds housing complex speaks out about her niece’s death, as the Rockford Housing Authority announces changes to their security protocol.
At a meeting on Wednesday, RHA CEO Ron Clewer told residents of Fairgrounds that RHA management will be moving into a vacant building inside the complex. After the New Year, they will have their own dispatch service out of their downtown office to monitor the 11 different sites they control citywide.
Fairgrounds was the site of a violent crime scene on Friday when 25-year-old Rachel Garrett was shot and killed inside of her home, by a stray bullet. Her aunt says the now deceased mother of four was trying to move away from the troubled project.
“The first time she went for help, Rockford Housing told her, from my understanding, according to my niece, that they still could not place her [somewhere else] because there was a waiting process,” Lynetta Hudson said Wednesday night at the Fairgrounds Housing meeting. “So that was two years ago. They shot at her house again. My niece is gone.”
Clewer said, following the meeting, that this is the exact reason why they’re now moving an office into the area, to show those committing violent crimes that it won’t be tolerated.
“We’re incredibly appreciative for the [Rockford Police Department’s] Strong Houses, but we need to replicate that at that end of our property. So [we need to do it to] send a message to the folks who are causing the problem that you don’t belong here, we don’t want you here, and you’re not going to be here.”
Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Carauna also announced he is building a TAC (or tactical) team with Rockford police, looking for gang members inside Fairgrounds.