Rockford Police Looking into Possible Gang-Related Shootings

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Two drive-by shootings overnight on Rockford’s west side has put the pressure on Rockford Police Department’s gang unit.

Deja Dickens’ home on Miriam Avenue is riddled with bullet holes. Around 1:45 this morning, Rockford Police say someone drove by and shot 15 rounds into the home. Luckily, no one was hurt, but dickens worries about what could have happened.

"We got babies up in this house. It be kids around the neighborhood, they play out here in the yard,” said Dickens.

Police think the same people, possibly gang members who shot dickens home were behind a shooting about 45 minutes earlier. Around 1:00 this morning, shooters targeted a car near Auburn and Johnston. The gunmen followed the car another two and a half miles, all the way to the Public Safety Building.

"It's unacceptable to have somebody’s car shot at is just unheard of and that level of violence has got to stop, and the shooting at homes has got to stop. So I've directed Lt. Welsh and our staff, all hands on deck,” said Police Chief Chet Epperson.

Gang shootings seem to be plaguing the city. Shootings last month on City View, Arcadia Terrace, 11th Street, and in the Fairgrounds and Blackhawk Housing complexes are also believed to be linked to gangs. Officers with the gang unit will now start patrolling Blackhawk. That includes knocking on doors in the evening with managers from the Rockford Housing Authority, a welcome change for worried residents, some too afraid to show their face on camera.

"They have to be here after 10 o'clock at night, every night and they need to be here from 10 until at least 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning and catch all of them,” said one resident.

The Rockford Housing Authority will now match the Crimestoppers reward for anyone who has information that leads to an arrest for the shootings at Blackhawk.

When we asked whether Dickens or someone in her family was in a gang, she said no.

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