Expansion of License Plate Readers, Air Operations, Forensics Capacity, and Strong Investigative Work Led to Multiple Charges of Murder, Attempted Murder, and Shootings
Following Gov. Pritzker’s significant expansion of anti-violence measures focused on Chicago area expressways, the Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced arrests and charges in multiple shooting incidents. The charges, filed against 20 individuals, include three first degree murders, one involuntary manslaughter, three attempted murders, and additional charges for crimes including aggravated discharge of a firearm, reckless discharge of a firearm, aggravated vehicular hijacking as well as aggravated fleeing and eluding.
Under Gov. Pritzker’s leadership, ISP has significantly ramped up enforcement action on expressways, including more proactive patrols with additional Troopers, deployment of Air Operations assets to monitor expressways and provide real-time information to troopers on the ground, and the installation of automated license plate readers on expressways to provide ISP Special Agents with essential leads and evidence. ISP Crime Scene and forensics divisions are also focusing on this anti-violence effort.
“I have directed the Illinois State Police and other agencies to make every possible effort to keep our expressways safe and solve the heinous shootings that spill over from neighborhoods onto the expressway, and these arrests are proof that these efforts are working,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “We’ve invested in technology and increased forensics capacity to help solve these crimes and focused additional manpower to prevent them in the first place – along with the hundreds of millions of new investments in preventing violence. While much work remains, I look forward to continuing our efforts with our partners to keep our expressways and communities safe.”
“As a result of these investigative efforts and collaboration with our law enforcement partners, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Felony Review Unit, 20 more dangerous individuals will be held accountable for the violence and disruption they have caused on the Chicago area expressways,” stated ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “My thanks to all of our ISP troopers, including our pilots, K-9 teams, special agents, crime scene investigators, SWAT, and all federal and local law enforcement agencies who continue to adapt to meet the demand for safety and justice for all.
“The ISP is showing: If you engage in criminal activity on the expressways, you will be identified, you will be arrested, and you will be charged with the most serious charges under the law. The ISP is adapting and improving our investigative and apprehension efforts to combat these senseless and unacceptable crimes.”
There were 24 homicides on Chicago-area expressways in 2021.
EXPANDED EXPRESSWAY ENFORCEMENT
Since Oct. 1, 2021, ISP Director Kelly has directed additional ISP Troopers from across the state to assist in expressway enforcements efforts and increase ISP’s presence on the Chicago area expressways as part of a plan approved by the Governor last summer. Those Troopers focus on deterring criminal activity, while increasing enforcement against other criminal activity. Further, the ISP has played a critical part in assisting local law enforcement agencies with apprehensions of aggravated vehicular hijacking suspects who enter expressways.
Additionally, in coordination with Chicago Police Department (CPD) and Department of Homeland Security air assets, the ISP has deployed the ISP Air Operations Teams who have flown multiple missions to provide crucial information to officers on the ground resulting in the apprehension of suspects, particularly suspects driving vehicles taken in aggravated vehicular hijackings. Some of these officers on the ground include the ISP K-9 units, who have played a critical part in assisting local law enforcement agencies to apprehend aggravated vehicular hijacking suspects.
With the assistance of ISP Troopers since October 1, 2021, District Chicago has initiated nearly 5000 traffic stops, 232 driving under the influence arrests, 69 firearm recoveries, 133 criminal arrests, and responded to over 4900 crashes.
Perpetrators often use expressways as an avenue of escape when they have committed other violent crimes, such as aggravated vehicular hijackings in adjacent neighborhoods. The ISP has responded to these dangerous acts by mobilizing a full spectrum of ISP resources to ensure these violent perpetrators are being held accountable. In addition, ISP has worked with federal and local law enforcement partners and increased the number of joint details focused on high visibility and anti-violence enforcement efforts.
Recently, the ISP announced the installation of 99 Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) on the Dan Ryan expressway with plans to continue to work with the Illinois Department of
Transportation and the Chicago Department of Transportation to install an additional 200 ALPRs within the next year. The installation of these ALPRs has already assisted the ISP with investigation of expressway shootings and aggravated fleeing and eluding violations arising from aggravated vehicular hijackings that cross over onto expressways.
As Governor Pritzker’s investments in forensics continue to advance, the state forensic lab completed 71,601 case assignments in 2021.
The ISP Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Zone 1 is investigating each expressway shooting and will continue with each active investigation until the offenders are held accountable. Beginning in mid-January of 2022, as a result of the collaboration among the ISP DCI Zone 1, the ISP Division of Patrol (DOP) District Chicago, the ISP Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) Felony Review Unit, multiple arrest warrants were obtained, and arrests were made for crimes related to expressway shootings and aggravated fleeing and eluding incidents.
First-Degree Murder Incident: Jan. 30, 2021
On Jan. 31, 2022, the ISP DCI Zone 1 arrested Darnay Washington, a 31-year-old male of Chicago, IL. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Washington with one count of First-Degree Murder, one count of Armed Robbery, and one count of Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking for his involvement in an expressway shooting, an armed robbery, and a carjacking that occurred on Jan. 30, 2021. On that date, at approximately 8:28 p.m., ISP District Chicago Troopers responded to the ramp from Division Street to Interstate 90 southbound for a reported expressway shooting and located a 37-year-old male of Chicago, IL, in a vehicle with life-threatening injuries from gunfire. The victim was pronounced deceased on scene. ISP DCI Zone 1 immediately began a thorough and exhaustive investigation, which included extensive coordination with CPD. During the investigation, ISP Agents learned Washington was allegedly involved in an armed robbery and an aggravated vehicular hijacking, both of which occurred in Chicago approximately four hours prior to the fatal expressway shooting. Washington is currently being held at the Cook County Jail with no bond.
Involuntary Manslaughter Incident: Dec. 13, 2021
Currently, there is a person in custody on un-related charges at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) who is the suspect in a fatal expressway shooting that occurred on Dec. 13, 2021. The ISP is working with the CCSAO Felony Review Unit and Involuntary Manslaughter charges are authorized and pending.
Attempted Murder Incident: Dec. 15, 2021
On Jan. 31, 2022, Darrell D. Wardington, a 19-year-old male of Hammond, IN was arrested for Attempted Murder for his involvement in an expressway shooting that occurred on Dec. 15, 2021, at approximately 11:23 a.m., on Interstate 94 northbound at 159th Street. On that date, ISP District Chicago Troopers responded to a reported expressway shooting and learned a 32-year-old male of Chicago, IL sustained non-life-threatening injuries from gunfire. ISP DCI Zone 1 identified Wardington as a suspect. With the assistance of the FBI Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force, Wardington was taken into custody in Indiana and was subsequently extradited to Illinois. Wardington was lodged at the Cook County Jail with a bond of $250,000.
First Degree Murder Incident: Dec. 19, 2021
On Jan. 27, 2022, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Antione K. Scott, a 31-year-old male of Chicago, IL, with one count of First Degree Murder. Scott was already in custody at the Cook County Jail on an un-related charge. Scott remains in custody with no bond. On Dec. 19, 2021, at approximately 3:21 p.m., ISP District Chicago Troopers responded to Interstate 57 northbound at 159th Street for a reported expressway shooting. Upon arrival, Troopers learned a 35-year-old male of Chicago, IL sustained life-threatening injuries from gunfire and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The victim later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Throughout the course of the extensive investigation, ISP DCI Zone 1 Agents identified Scott as a suspect in the fatal expressway shooting.
In addition to the arrests mentioned above, since October of 2021, ISP DCI Zone 1 Agents arrested the following individuals for their alleged involvement in expressway shootings:
• Armonii M. Russell – Arrested on Nov. 23, 2021, for Attempted Murder
• Deshaun Glover – Arrested on Dec. 3, 2021, for Attempted Murder
• Bradley Plyes – Arrested on October 23, 2021, for Aggravated Discharge of Firearm
• Yanis Larbes – Arrested on Dec. 19, 2021, for Aggravated Discharge of Firearm
• Luis E. Tinejero – Arrested on Oct. 28, 2021, for Reckless Discharge of a Firearm
The following individuals were charged with Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding stemming from pursuits of vehicles on Chicago expressways:
• On Jan. 27, 2022, Travon A. Dailey, a 24-year-old male of Chicago, IL, was arrested for Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding
• On Jan. 28, 2022, Ayanna S. Watkins, a 29-year-old female of Chicago, IL, was arrested for Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding
• On Jan 31, 2022, Richard J. Beck, a 27-year-old male of Chicago, IL, was indicted for Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding
• On Jan. 31, 2022, Deomarte D. Cooper, a 23-year-old male of Harvey, IL, was indicted for Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding
• On Feb. 3, 2022, Neka R. Harden, a 29-year-old female of Chicago, IL, was arrested for Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding
ACTIVE ARREST WARRANTS
In addition to these arrests, ISP is engaged in fugitive pursuits related to several incidents, including:
Homicide Incident: May 2021
In May of 2021, the ISP District Chicago Troopers responded to a reported homicide that took place on a Chicago expressway. After a complete investigation DCI Zone 1 Agents identified an offender and obtained an arrest warrant for First Degree Murder. The offender is currently not in custody. Due to the circumstances of the fugitive investigation tied to the issuance of the arrest warrant additional details are not currently available.
Armed Robbery: July 2, 2021
On Jan. 26, 2022, ISP DCI Zone 1 obtained an arrest warrant for a suspect involved in an armed robbery which occurred on July 2, 2021.
Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking Incident: Nov. 23, 2021
On Jan. 19, 2022, ISP DCI Zone 1 obtained an arrest warrant for a suspect involved in an aggravated vehicular hijacking incident which occurred on Nov. 23, 2021.
Arrests warrants for Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding have been issued and we are seeking the public’s assistance to locate these individuals:
• Tony L. Clark, a 23-year-old male of Chicago, IL
• Jaharee M. Densmore, a 19-year-old male of Chicago, IL
• Lester L. Larkin, a 31-year-old male of Decatur, IL