Rockford's First Homicide

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

Lavontaye Nunn just got out of prison a little more than a week ago. He spent the last year in the Hill Correctional Facility in Galesburg. And in his brief return to the Stateline, he was fatally shot in the courtyard of the Blackhawk Court Housing Project.

"The next thing you know you hear boom boom boom I'm like dang here it goes again," says resident Jennifer Hatcher.

Gunshots are becoming an oh so familiar sound in the Blackhawk Courts Housing Project. In fact, within the last week, three people have been shot there, one fatally. Neighbors say 19-year-old Lavontaye Nunn was staying in the project for three days. He just got out of prison in Galesburg and was murdered in this courtyard off Birch Court Tuesday night. Neighbors say they're fed up with the violence.

"This is for people that need somewhere to stay with their children not for people to come shooting up not caring what window it goes in or who gets hurt," says Katherine Froeber.

Police say Nunn was inside this house prior to meeting up with someone in the courtyard. That's when he was shot several times. Police are now questioning those connected to this residence and reviewing surveillance tapes from area cameras. Neighbors say several of them took Nunn in, offered him food clothing and cash. And now many are frightened to hang outdoors.

"This has been a problem people from outside the area coming into these developments either carrying guns selling drugs or both," says Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark.

All three shooting victims didn't live in the Blackhawk project. The Rockford Housing Authority says 75-percent of those arrested in their developments do not live there as well. So Rockford Police are urging residents to launch a watch group to help kick those out who don't belong.

One of the biggest issues police are now facing is helping those out on parole stay out of trouble. Police Chief Chet Epperson wants to start a parole re-entry program that will help them get jobs and lose the guns. Also, this first homicide is a lot later than in the past. Last year's happened February 21st and there were two by April 4th in 2006.

As for the shootings earlier in the week, police arrested four people in connection to the Thursday shooting off Meadow Court in Blackhawk, and they have warrants for two others on the way. They've also issued an additional warrant for the shooting on Sunday, also off Meadow Court.


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