‘A Criminal’s Paradise: A County Without Consequences’ — part three of five
Editor’s note: The following is the third in a five-part series. The first part appeared in the Nov. 6-12 issue, and the second part appeared in the Nov. 13-19 issue.
Read all five parts of “A Criminal’s Paradise: A County Without Consequences”:
By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor
Areas of increasing concern identified by this series are repeat offenders, teens and a thriving drug trade. This third part in the series will look at some recent headlines involving teen crime.
A recent comment on The Rock River Times’ Facebook page in response to the Oct. 23 death of 18-year-old Shaquille Zackery (see details of crime below) seems to capture the feeling of many in the community (this post has been edited for spelling and grammar):
“How sad, it breaks my heart. So many unnecessary deaths of young people. When will this madness stop? We really need foot patrol in Rockford, Ill., in the crime-ridden areas. Maybe this will help, because crime is not down. It keeps going up. I do not care what the Police Department reports. I thank God for Rockford Scanner, it makes me see things now on a different level than before of not really knowing. The gangs in Rockford have gotten out of hand. What happened to gun control!!! Out the window, I guess …”
While the issue of gun control is a completely different topic, this person’s outrage over the city’s surging crime rate is something all Rockford citizens can relate to.
With regard to this person’s comment about foot patrol, since October, the Rockford Police Department has been operating what it calls “surge patrols.” During these patrols, the Police Department sends as many officers as it can spare — sometimes double the number of regular patrol officers — to a targeted neighborhood or area to beef up patrol. The patrols were started in response to several shootings and a homicide that occurred on the west side.
The initial three-week surge patrol on the west side in October lasted 275 hours and yielded 144 traffic stops, 67 tickets and nine arrests. Police also seized two firearms and drugs. The most recent surge patrol was to begin Nov. 13 on the southwest side of Rockford.
These surge patrols at least show an effort by police to become more proactive in preventing crime. Increased foot patrols would be great, but the resources may not be available. The city certainly could use increasing the size of its police force and putting more police on the streets at one time.
More police on the streets could help reduce crime in many areas. One area that has gotten out of hand is the level of violent crimes committed by teens. Following are some recent headlines involving teens and details of the crimes:
“One of two teens shot Oct. 19 dies as a result of his injuries,” Oct. 24 — Rashod Davis, 17, and Shaquille Zackery, 18, were both shot in the 1200 block of South Winnebago Street at around 11:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19. Davis was shot in his leg, Zackery in his torso. Oct. 23, Zackery’s condition worsened, and he died while in transit to a Madison, Wis., hospital.
“Three Rockford teens charged with home invasion,” Oct. 23 — Rockford residents Gregory Aniszewski, 19, Andre McGlothlin, 17, and Jonathan Ruiz, 19, were all charged with home invasion Oct. 22. The incident occurred at 4232 Harrison Ave. Officers met with the 30-year-old female resident who was home with her 2-year-old child. Also present in the residence was a male acquaintance of the resident. Shortly after the acquaintance arrived, three male subjects unknown to the resident entered the apartment through an unlocked door. The suspects removed a computer, television, video game system and a Nook. The victim tried to stop one of the suspects and sustained a small laceration to her finger. The three suspects and the male acquaintance of the victim all left the apartment.
“Suspect, 18, in fatal Spring Creek crash now in jail on $1 million bond,” Oct. 4 — Dontrell D. Littleton, 18, of Rockford, was behind the wheel of a stolen black Hyundai Elantra that at around 5 p.m., Sept. 29, crossed the center line into westbound traffic on Spring Creek Road near North Second Street and collided with a white Chrysler 300 driven by Howard E. Riddle, who was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. Well-known local activist Dorothy J. Galloway, 65, was the passenger in the Chrysler, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Riddle died Dec. 20 as a result of his injuries. The Hyundai also struck a green Buick Lucerne. There were two individuals in the Buick, a male and a female, who were not injured. Police investigation showed the Hyundai was traveling eastbound on Spring Creek at a high rate of speed, lost control, and crossed into the westbound lanes, where it collided with the Chrysler, which was westbound. The collision forced one of the vehicles into the Buick. Three males in the Hyundai were all transported to local hospitals. The passengers in the Hyundai were identified as 20-year-old Christopher J. Ross and 21-year-old Tyrone L. Briggs, both of Rockford. No charges have been filed against the two passengers of the Hyundai. The Hyundai was reported stolen from the 2300 block of Jonathan Avenue Sept. 26. Littleton is being held at the Winnebago County Justice Center on a $1 million bond. He faces the following charges: aggravated driving under the influence of drugs involving death (Class 2 felony), reckless homicide (Class 3 felony), two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs involving great bodily harm (Class 4 felony) and two counts of aggravated reckless driving (Class 4 felony). More charges are pending following the death of Riddle.
“Alleged Waco street gang member arrested at Concord Commons, also suspect in June 23 shooting at Concord Commons,” Oct. 4 — Also arrested in the apartment (with alleged Waco street gang member Augustus E. Young — read more about him in part two of this series) was Whitney F. Watkins Jr., 18. Watkins was charged with violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, possession with intent to deliver cocaine. When entry to the apartment was made, Watkins was observed bagging up suspected cocaine.
“Two teens charged with stealing elderly man’s car,” Sept. 24 — Raven C. Richardson, 18, of Rockford, and Mokeece C. Townsend, 17, of Dolton, Ill., were arrested Sept. 24 and charged with home invasion and auto theft after stealing an 81-year-old man’s car.
“Victim in Mobil shooting dies, suspect, 19, sought by police,” Sept. 23 — Rockford police are in search of 19-year-old Tronte D. Pickett, who is suspected in the Sept. 21 shooting death of 22-year-old Jordan M. Bounsinh. Bounsinh, who died as a result of his injuries at 10:25 a.m., Sept. 21, was the victim of a shooting that occurred at the Mobil Gas Station at 1344 E. State St., Rockford.
“Seven arrested following raid of Fifth Avenue apartment,” Sept. 13 — One of those arrested was Jaylin D. Davis, 18, of Coon Rapids, Minn., charged with unlawful use of weapons and resisting a peace officer.
“Burglary suspect, 19, also faces cocaine, cannabis charges,” Sept. 12 — Sept. 10, a Rockford police officer located Michael A. Scott, 19, of Rockford, walking through the North Towne Mall parking lot. The officer had knowledge Scott was listed as a suspect in prior burglary incidents. While the officer was speaking with Scott, a quantity of a substance believed to be cannabis and a quantity of a substance believed to be cocaine were recovered from a vehicle Scott had been driving. The officer placed Scott under arrest.
“18-year-old gets 20 years for armed robbery in which he pointed handgun at a mother and her 3-year-old daughter,” Sept. 6 — Dustin K. Larosa, 18, has been sentenced to 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offense of armed robbery. At around 4 p.m., June 9, 2011, Rockford police were called to Rockton and Cameron Avenue in Rockford in reference to an armed robbery complaint. Officers met with the victim and her 3-year-old daughter. The victim stated she was walking home from the grocery store with her daughter when she noticed a van driving southbound on Rockton. The woman stated she turned to go home when the van stopped and a man got out of the passenger seat, walked up to her, and pointed a handgun at her and her daughter. The man demanded her purse and then got back into the van and drove off. At 4:45 p.m., officers noticed a van matching the description given by the complainant and conducted a traffic stop. The van stopped, and a man, later identified as Larosa, got out of the rear passenger side and ran from the van. After a short foot chase, Larosa was taken into custody. The victim identified Larosa as the man who held a gun to her daughter and demanded and took her purse. Larosa gave a written statement admitting he saw a lady pushing a stroller on the street with a child in the stroller. Larosa stated he got out of the van, went up to the lady, and pointed his .22-caliber revolver at her and her daughter and took her purse.
From the Dec. 25-31, 2013, issue