By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – A 14-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday night for allegedly shooting at Rockford police officers, Police Chief Dan O’Shea announced Wednesday.
O’Shea said the incident unfolded at around 7:45 p.m., when officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert in 1400 block of West Street. Two officers located a group of subjects behind Washington Elementary School and began to approach. That’s when one of the subjects turned and fired at the officers, who were inside their squad car. The officers did not return fire.
The juvenile was taken into custody a short time later and a firearm was recovered. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and resisting a police officer.
“Parents need to consider this,” O’Shea said. “There are 14-year-olds carrying guns. And if they are willing to fire at the police, they are presumably willing to fire at anyone. Having 14-year-olds walking the streets with handguns is completely unacceptable. Parenting needs to step up in this city.”
The chief said while overall crime is down, the number of offenses committed by juveniles is not moving in the right direction. So far this year, 31 suspects younger than 16 have been arrested for violent crimes. That’s two more than all of last year.
“It’s a disturbing statistic,” O’Shea said. “We are only at July 23. That’s a bad number. We have to step up as a city–as one whole group to bring down juvenile crime.”
As of this report, 46 people have been struck by gunfire in Rockford this year, a mark that’s down 33% from 2018.
“We are reducing violent crime,” the chief said. “But having 46 people hit halfway through the year is not acceptable.”