BELOIT—A 15-year-old suspect was arrested Monday at Beloit Memorial High School and is being accused of being involved in the Sept. 3 fatal shooting on Portland Avenue, according to the Beloit Police Department.
During a news conference Monday, Beloit Police Chief Andre Sayles said Beloit Memorial High School was placed on soft lockdown while police located the suspect at the school. The student was taken into custody without incident and a handgun was found in a backpack.
“We are working to establish a safer Beloit, and to help seek closure for these senseless acts of violence,” Sayles said.
Sayles said the juvenile, who was not identified, was arrested on possible charges of first degree intentional homicide in the death of a 19-year-old male who was shot on Sept. 3 in the 1000 block of Portland Avenue.
Beloit police said they are not releasing the identity and gender of the suspect because a waiver has not yet been sought by the Rock County District Attorney’s Office to have the teen tried as an adult in Rock County Circuit Court.
If the teen is charged as an adult, it would mark the second time a minor in Beloit will face prosecution for homicide-related charges this year in Beloit. Miguel Running, 15, faces three counts of attempted first-degree homicide in the shooting of three teens on May 13 on Nelson Avenue. The case remains pending in Rock County Circuit Court.
“I am very concerned,” Sayles said in response to a question regarding minors being involved in serious crimes. “As you said, they are minors. I go back to when I was a minor and I didn’t have handguns. I don’t know where these children are getting these handguns from. I think the biggest thing is, it takes a village to raise these kids. I think as a community and a police department, we need to step up and get our arms around our young people in our city to make sure we are leading them down the right path instead of the wrong one.”
When asked, Sayles confirmed the suspect and the victim knew one another, but declined to further elaborate on the nature of that connection.
An exact time of the shooting remains unknown, but police said the teen was “likely shot” on the evening of Sept. 3. Police responded to a report of shots fired in the area on Sept. 3, but the teen’s body was not found until 7:53 a.m. on Sept. 5, marking almost a 36-hour window in which the victim’s body laid undetected.
The homicide marks the 17th shooting involving injury or death in Beloit in 2021. There have been four homicides in Beloit this year. The homicide statistics for this year ties the grim total reported in 2019 and doubles the total from last year.