‘We will hunt you down,’ warns Rockford Police Chief after surge in shootings

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — “Violence has jumped off in the last month and a half,” Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said at a Thursday press conference. “To say it’s disheartening doesn’t do it justice. It’s very aggravating.”

O’Shea provided an update on several recent shootings, including the murder of a 34-year-old man at the ‘Way Low’ Citgo gas station on W. State Street Wednesday night.

O’Shea said four other people were hurt in the shooting, including a 46-year-old man, a 26-year-old man, a 24-year-old woman, and a 56-year-old man.

Police believe the suspects had targeted the victim, and did not say whether the others were also intended victims.

Later Wednesday, a Rockford Police detective was shot at by gang suspects after investigating several cars which were stopped at a roadway on Wednesday night, police said.

Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said the detective was with the police department’s gang unit and was looking for suspects in the area of W. State and Waldo around 11:30 p.m.

The detective pulled up the suspects, one of whom opened fire. The car was hit in the front windshield, and the detective – “with glass fragments in his face,” O’Shea said – pursued one of the vehicles. When the suspects bailed out, the detective continued to chase him down on foot and arrested 22-year-old Dontrell Brown.

Photo: Rockford Police Department

O’Shea said Brown had a gun on him when he was apprehended.

Brown was charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon, Unlawful Use of Weapons by a Street Gang Member, No FOID, and Resisting Arrest.

“I’ll tell you right now (if you shoot at police), we will use every resource to hunt them down… We will not sleep. We are going into active aggressive mode to find these individuals and put them in prison where we belong.”

Earlier on Wednesday, O’Shea said officers from the Gang Unit were searching for suspects in the area of 15th Ave. and Nelson Blvd. when they located a car containing 4 adults and 1 juvenile.

O’Shea said the suspects refused to get out of the car, resulting in a standoff that lasted between 30 and 40 minutes.

Eventually, the suspects surrendered. All of the suspects were members of a street gang, O’Shea said.

Four adults and a 15-year-old were charged with crimes, and two guns were recovered, according to police.

The juvenile was charged with Unlawful Use of Weapons by a Gang Member, No FOID, Resisting Arrest, Juvenile Probation Violation Warrant, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm.

Juan Martinez, 18, was charged with Unlawful Weapons by a Gang Member, No FOID, Possession of a Defaced Firearm.

Jose Gonzalez, 18, was charged with Unlawful Weapons by a Gang Member, No FOID, Possession of a Defaced Firearm.

Julio Gonzalez, 19, was charged with Unlawful Weapons by a Gang Member, No FOID.

Luis Gomez Lara, 19, was charged with Unlawful Use of Weapons by a Gang Member, Unlawful Use of Weapons by a Felon, No FOID.

Photo: Juan Martinez, Jose Gonzalez, Julio Gonzalez, Luis Lara, courtesy Rockford Police Department

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said there have been 10 weapons arrests within the last 10 days in Rockford.

“The number of (illegal) weapons (coming into Rockford) continue to amaze all of us,” O’Shea said.

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