Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Suspects charged in shooting incident near Winnebago County Justice Center

Staff Report

ROCKFORD — Two men have been charged in a shooting incident that occurred near the Winnebago County Justice Center last month.

Emilio Esteves-Barrera, 20, of Rockford, is charged with aggravated discharge of a weapon, reckless discharge of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and parole violation.

Angel Barrera-Esteves, 23, of Rockford, is charged with not having a FOID.

Charges against the men stem from a shots-fired incident that happened at around 5:45 p.m, Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Officers met with a caller who told them that while a group of protesters were in front of the Winnebago County Justice Center discussing a court case that was going on inside, they heard a series of gunshots and were nearly struck by a bullet that was later found on the ground next to them. According to a live video produced by the protesters and posted on Facebook, the bullet hit a table they were sitting at. Seven shots can be heard on the recording.

The bullet that landed near the protesters was picked up and given to officers. Witnesses at the scene refused to cooperate with the investigation.

At the same time officers received the shots-fired report at the Justice Center, the Rockford Police Department was notified of a suspected road-rage incident that occurred in the area of Avon and West State Streets. A victim involved in that incident told police a front passenger in a white SUV waved a black handgun toward their vehicle and fired approximately four times.

The victim’s vehicle was struck twice on the driver’s side, and a bullet fragment was also located in the rear passenger floorboard.

Investigators determined that shots were fired near Kilburn Avenue and West State Street. They also determined that the protesters were not the intended targets of the gunfire, and that the round that hit their table was discharged in the road-rage incident. ‘

The Rockford Police Gang Unit conducted a follow-up investigation and identified Emilio Esteves-Barrera as a suspect. He was taken into custody Friday, Sept. 10, in the 2000 block of Anjali Way. He is being held without bond. Police recovered two guns, one with a silencer.

A photo of Angel Barrera-Esteves is not available.

Leslie Rolfe, a member of a group of protesters called the May 30 Alliance, recoils as a bullet strikes a table he was sitting at outside the Winnebago County Justice Center in Rockford, Illinois, on Aug. 31, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
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