Police have made an arrest in connection with a February 23rd shooting that killed a man in the CherryVale Mall parking lot.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced charges Thursday morning against Devin Stevenson, the man believed to have pulled the trigger and took the life of 31-year-old Ricky Smith.
Smith was the third person to be shot — the first killed — on mall property since 2016.
The shooting became a driving force for mall officials and law enforcement to increase efforts to give shoppers peace of mind while they’re at the mall.
“The mall has hundreds of cameras inside and outside their facility,” said Cherry Valley Police Chief Robert Swank. “We frequently use that video when we are investigating incidents.”
Thursday’s arrest brought a sense of closure over the recent violence at the mall in the past few years. Authorities say they put extra emphasis on violent crimes that take place at public places.
“We take that and all of our retail establishments, and the safety of securing the people that go there, very seriously. So, it’s going to be on-going. We are going to keep our presence up,” Swank said.
The focus on the safety is not going unnoticed by mall representatives.
“We are thankful and appreciative of the police department for the continued partnership that we have with them, in order to ensure that CherryVale remains a family friendly destination for our entire community,” said Melissa Cavanagh, CherryVale Mall’s Marketing Director.
Stevenson faces 12 counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm, and two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Felon.