By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — The three victims shot and killed in a party bus on Rockford’s west side over the weekend have been identified as Daijon K. Sistrunk, 22; Martavies J. Blake, 21; and 27-year-old Sean M. Anderson.
The men were found after 3 a.m. Saturday. Police say they were gunned down with what has been reported as an “assault rifle” while the bus was traveling in the area of Auburn Street and North Johnston Avenue. The coach continued on after the shooting before stopping at a nearby Mobil station, where the driver called police.
Multiple police agencies are now searching for 22-year-old Raheem King, who authorities allege is the gunman. Police say King organized the party and advertised it on his Facebook page.
On Wednesday, King posted, “Party bus on Friday I’m charging 25$ a head.” A Friday post said, “Who all getting on da bus let me know now.”
The bus is owned by Distinguished Gentleman, a local private entertainment company.
Saturday’s shooting is the third involving more than one victim in recent months. In February, a Rockford man killed his estranged wife and her boyfriend before turning the gun on himself during a police chase. Last month, two Rockford Christian students were shot and killed by their father before he took his own life inside their suburban home.
Officials say the city is making progress, but still has a long way to go to make a serious dent in violent crimes. That is why Mayor Tom McNamara said keeping the citizens safe is his top priority.
“City Council and myself have committed that public safety is the No. 1 concern in our community,” he said in a previous report. “The council is not only committed with their thoughts, but with their actions.”
Although Rockford’s 2017 crime stats showed an improvement over the previous year, it is still the FBI’s third-most dangerous city in the country behind St. Louis and Memphis, respectively.
According to numbers released by the city, property crime was down eight percent last year, while violent crimes were down five percent. There were 11 fewer aggravated assaults and 122 fewer robberies.
There were 18 homicides in Rockford in 2017, down from 26 the year before. The city’s homicide rate peaked in 1996, when there were 31 killings.
Police say Raheem King should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact the Rockford Police Department at 779-500-6551 or Crime Stoppers at 815-963-7867. R.