The Lee County Sheriff’s Office asks for help from the public to find a 41-year-old suspect in a shooting incident in October. That person, law enforcement alleges, has removed a monitoring device and left home detention.

The October incident

About 11:49 p.m. Oct. 16, deputies from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in the 100 block of East Bassett Street in Nelson (a village in Lee County, Illinois) for a report of a person who had been shot in the throat. While responding to the area, information was received that the scene of the shooting took place at a residence in the 400 block of South Butler Street, a news release says.

A 41-year-old man identified as Jake Verkruysse of Erie, Illinois, was transported to KSB Hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound. He was subsequently airlifted to a Rockford area hospital for stabilization and further treatment, according to the news release.

After a thorough and intensive investigation, arrest warrants were obtained on Thursday for:

From left: Ballard, Johnson, Verkruysse (photos courtesy of Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

James L. Ballard, 45, of Dixon, who was located and arrested Friday by Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies on an arrest warrant charging the offenses of mob action, a Class 4 Felony, and criminal damage to property under $500, a Class A misdemeanor. Bond on the warrant had been set at $20,000. Ballard is currently on mandatory supervised release from the Illinois Department of Corrections for delivery of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a felon, which stems from a case in Whiteside County, the news release says. He posted bond and was released on Friday evening.

Lisa R. Johnson, 41, of Dixon, turned herself in Friday at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on an arrest warrant charging the offenses of mob action, a Class 4 felony, and criminal damage to property under $500, a Class A misdemeanor. Bond on the warrant had been set at $20,000. Johnson is also currently on mandatory supervised release from the Illinois Department of Corrections for residential burglary from a Lee County case, the news release says. Johnson also posted bond and was released Friday evening.

Jake Verkruysse, who was arrested Thursday on an arrest warrant charging him with home invasion, a Class X felony; mob action, a Class 4 felony; and criminal damage to property under $500, a Class A misdemeanor. Bond on the warrant had been set at $150,000. Verkruysse was later released Friday evening on a recognizance bond because of an ongoing medical conditions, the news release says. As a condition of his release from custody, Verkruysse was fitted with a GPS monitoring device and was to be confined to his residence in Erie. He was authorized only to leave for court appearances or previously approved medical appointments, the news release says.

What led to the shooting

The charges allege that the three went to a residence in the 400 block of Butler Street without lawful authority, “for the purpose of doing violence to the person or property,” the news release says. It is also alleged that they inflicted injury to the person or property. As a result of the unlawful assembly at the residence, the occupant took possession of a firearm for protection. Verkruysse was shot after he entered the residence “in a forceful manner,” the news release alleges.

The use of deadly force in this instance has been reviewed by the Lee County State’s Attorney’s Office and has been deemed as justified. Investigators believe that the incident appears to be drug-related, the news release says.

Suspect sought

Early Saturday, the release alleges, Verkruysse removed the GPS monitoring system that was a condition of his release from custody. As a result of this, a new arrest warrant has been issued on charges of escape, a Class 3 felony, and failure to comply with a condition of the electronic monitoring or home detention program, a Class 3 felony.

Bond on the new charges has been set in the amount of $500,000. As of Saturday, Investigators are pursuing leads to place Verkruysse back into custody., according to the news release

The Sheriff’s Office seeks assistance from the public to locate Verkruysse, and asks anyone with information to contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 284-6631 or Ogle-Lee Crimestoppers at 1-888-CAUGHT U (1-888-228-4488). Callers do not have to leave their names and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 that leads to an arrest.

Agencies involved

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has been assisted throughout this investigation by the Lee County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Illinois State Police, the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office, the Dixon Police Department, the Erie Police Department, and the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office.