The Joliet teen who slunk up behind a group of young people hanging out on Second Avenue Tuesday night and shot three in the back was captured Wednesday morning, police said.
The alleged gunman, 18-year-old Sjolante Crowder, apparently didn't make much effort to get away, as he was spotted sitting on a Richards Street porch with two other men shortly before noon.
Officers tipped to Crowder's whereabouts found him still sitting there when they made it over, said Joliet police Cmdr. Brian Benton. When Crowder saw the cops, Benton said, he tried to step away. After they called out his name, he tried to run inside the house.
Crowder didn't make it through the door. He was apprehended and hauled off to the Will County jail on two counts of first-degree murder.
Crowder, who was last known to live on Englewood Avenue, killed two and wounded a third in the cowardly ambush shooting, police said.
Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton told of witnesses recounting how a black-clad Crowder slipped up behind a crowd of people and shot three young men from point-blank range.
Two of the men—Delasse Lanier, 18, and Adrian Knox, 17, both of Joliet—were pronounced dead at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox shortly after the 6:50 p.m. gun attack.
A third man took a bullet to his upper back, Trafton said. The wounded 19-year-old drove himself to Provena St. Joseph Medical Center and is expected to survive.
Lanier, Knox and the third teen were among a group gathered on Second Avenue. The crowd took off running when the shots started flying, police said.
Trafton said the shooting was preceded by a "fight earlier in the evening between a couple girls, and it escalated for whatever reason."
Benton added that the deadly attack has "definite gang overtones."
Lanier and Knox were the second and third Joliet teenagers shot to death in less than 24 hours. The night before, 18-year-old Tevin Bridges was gunned down in the Lois Place apartments.
Darrel Perkins, 53, was charged with killing Bridges, who reportedly showed up at the older man's apartment door looking to buy loose cigarettes.
Witnesses told detectives that Bridges balled his fists and advanced on Perkins, who then grabbed a .38-caliber handgun off a table and filled Bridges with bullets, police said.
A black pellet gun was found on the floor next to Bridges' body, police said, but Perkins never claimed to detectives that the younger man pulled the toy gun on him.
Trafton credited his detectives for identifying and apprehending the alleged gunmen within hours of the killings. The chief also thanked the community for coming forward to identify the alleged killers, and said the carnage cannot be halted without the help of the public.
"That's the only way we're going to stop this, is if the community says, 'Enough of this,'" the chief said.
Crowder turned 18 exactly one month before the killings. He has no criminal record as an adult.
Trafton was at a loss to explain the recent rash of teens dying in gun attacks.
"It's a tragedy, it's a disaster," he said. "It doesn't make any sense to me."