New Rock Island County State’s Attorney has plans for guns and gangs

Local News

'Street crimes' prosecutor component of Villarreal's plan

Gun violence, police chases and gangs are among the problems law enforcement agencies across the Quad Cities are trying to get under control

One of the more serious cases happened in late May when East Moline police tried to make a traffic stop.

Officers wound up in a shootout when they say the passenger got out of the car and opened fire on them.

They shot 25-year-old Darold Strunk. He survived and now faces prosecution.

The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation by then acting Rock Island County State’s Attorney Patricia Castro.

There was a police chase earlier this month that ended with a man in jail.

Dozens of officers searched for a man near the intersection of Interstate 280 and Illinois Route 92 in Milan.

He was wanted for shooting a gun in Moline.

Police say a 14-year-old was in the car with him.

Officers wound up arresting 22-year-old Tyler Walker on weapons charges.

These crimes are among the challenges new Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal promises to address.

Villarreal got appointed to the interim job by the county to replace Castro. The dominoes fell ultimately to replace John McGehee after he became a judge.

Gun violence, chases and gangs are among her priorities.

She also intends to streamline operations within the prosecutor’s office and alleviate the backlog.

Villarreal joined 4 The Record for a conversation.

Changes

Prosecuting cases involving violent crime, gun violence, gangs and car chases, and creating the position of a “street crimes” prosecutor to help with these cases.

Villarreal talked about how much of a difference that can make and if this means there will be more prosecutors on these cases.

Gangs

We’ve seen the stolen car cases and shootings in the Quad Cities.

When we talk to police and we ask about gangs, they shy away from the word. But if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.

Villarreal discussed what kind of gang problem there is in the Quad Cities and what the state’s attorney’s office can do about it.

Working with victims

Another position Villarreal developed is a special victims prosecutor to work with victims in these cases.

Villarreal explained what the responsibilities are and if it is cost effective.

Watch the full conversation in the video above.

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