ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police said that 54-year-old Miguel Perez was canvassing neighborhoods with his family for the Jehovah’s Witnesses when he was shot dead Saturday morning.
According to police, Perez was waiting in his car while his family members were going door to door in the 1300 block of 7th Avenue around 11:46 a.m.
Witnesses said a white vehicle passed and the occupants fired shots at Perez as it went. Officers arrived to find him sitting dead with gunshot wounds in the car.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for a 15-year-old in relation to the murder.
Rockford resident Jerry Petersen said that this startled many neighbors. One thing he emphasized was that gun violence in the area is nothing new.
“This is not the first time I heard gun fire around here,” Petersen said. “I have bullet holes in my house. It’s terrifying.”
Those bullet holes are not in relation to the shooting over the weekend, but the long time Rockford resident wants to emphasize that he has seen it before.
“This town has become ridiculous,” Petersen said. “I’ve seen LA-13 gang graffiti on the building over here, on the stop sign years ago. I’ve known of a murder with a knife across the park. Every month around here I hear gun fire.”
This murder has caused concern for Petersen and other neighbors, who may be worried about something like sitting in their car during the day. He said that he may be forced to live elsewhere if the danger continues.
“I’m thinking about it,” Petersen said. “I’ve lived here 19 years. I’ve seen a lot of things that shouldn’t be happening if people would have more consideration for others.”
The 15-year-old suspect is still on the run. Any information should be given to the Rockford Police Department, (815) 966-2900, or Rockford Area Crime Stoppers, (815) 963-7867.
A GoFundMe has been started by Perez’ brother-in-law to help the family meet expenses.
“Miguel had been off work for almost a year due to a bad car accident. Because of this, he lost the life insurance he had through work. So this money will be used for the funeral expenses. Also because he was off work, there was some accrued debt that now needs to be paid off,” wrote Johnathan Trevino.
“The vehicle he was in when shot was currently our only vehicle. It is being used in the murder investigation, with no word to how long it will take to get it back. Even if and when we do get it back, we do not want to drive in it and may not get the value from it due to this incident.”
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Rockford Spanish Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses gave a statement.
“Along with the family, the congregation is grieving the tragic loss of our brother and friend. We are providing support to the family during this difficult time. Our love and prayers are with his wife and daughters and all those who loved him.”