ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police have arrested a man suspected of a car-to-car shooting last week. Bullets fired in the incident nearly struck protesters outside of the Winnebago County Justice Center, police said.
On Tuesday, August 31st at 5:45 p.m., officers were called to the Winnebago County Justice Center, at 650 W. State Street, for a shooting.
The May 30th Alliance group was holding a protest outside of the facility, and founder Leslie Rolfe posted video of the incident on Facebook. In the video, bullets can be heard making an impact near the camera as Rolfe and other subjects take cover.
Police say moments later, officers were notified of a suspected road rage incident, in which the victim said a car passed them on Avon Street, just north of the first shooting location, waving a black gun toward their vehicle. The victim said the front passenger in the suspect vehicle fired four times as they passed, striking the driver’s side door twice, and also striking the rear driver’s side passenger floorboard.
Police were later able to confirm that both reported incidents were the same shooting, which took place near Kilburn and W. State Street. Police said the investigation revealed Rolfe and the other protesters were not the intended target of the shooting, as the rounds fired traveled to where his group was sitting outside of the Justice Center.
Rockford Police’s Gang Detectives were able to identify the suspect as 20-year-old Emilio Esteves-Barrera.
On Friday, September 10th, police arrested Esteves-Barrera in the 2000 block of Anjali Way, and recovered two guns – one equipped with a silencer.
Esteves-Barrera was charged with Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon, Reckless Discharge, Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon, and Parole Violation.
A second person, 23-year-old Angel Barrera-Esteves, was charged with No Firearm Owners Identification.