Crime

Man pleads guilty to shooting into Washington Park home with assault rifle

Violent and property crime stats for Illinois

According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.
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According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.

An East St. Louis man who was injured in a police shootout last year has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he used an assault rifle to shoot into a Washington Park home where two people were injured.

Antoine D. Johnson Jr., 28, pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a loaded firearm after sustaining a felony conviction, the office of U.S. District Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft wrote in a news release on Monday.

The release stated that on Feb. 18, 2018, police received a report of multiple shots fired into a home in Washington Park that morning that had injured two adults. During the investigation, East St. Louis police officers surrounded a car as it sat idly in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant on State Street.

In the front passenger seat of the car, Johnson sat holding a loaded Norinco SKS semi-automatic assault rifle, the release stated. He and the driver of the car refused to comply with police commands to exit the vehicle and police said Johnson then pointed the rifle at them. Police opened fire on the car in return.

The driver of the car attempted to flee but crashed into a pole beside the restaurant, the release stated. Both Johnson and the driver were arrested on the scene. Johnson had a gunshot wound to his hip and shrapnel damage to one of his eyes, while the driver was uninjured.

At the time of the incident, Johnson was on probation in St. Clair County for aggravated robbery conviction in 2015. The release stated that officers linked Johnson and the rifle to the Washington Park shooting and, as part of his plea deal, Johnson admitted to firing 11 rounds into the house. He also pleaded guilty in St. Clair County Court to one count of aggravated battery with a firearm. His sentence for that charge will run consecutively to his federal sentence.

Johnson’s sentencing is scheduled for April 16 before U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle.

Hana Muslic has been covering breaking news and crime for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.


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