Crime

Two men charged in connection with Interstate 270 drive-by shooting

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Two Decatur men have been charged following a drive-by shooting on Interstate 270 near Pontoon Beach on Monday.

Around 11:30 a.m., Martin J. Novak, 27, and Jessie L. Bianco, 31, got into an altercation with an acquaintance in Pontoon Beach, a news release from Illinois State Police stated.

They then chased the person, who’d gotten into his or her car, on I-270 in their dark-colored Chevrolet Tahoe. According to the release, they fired several shots at the other car from their Tahoe and struck the vehicle, but did not injure the person.

The acquaintance drove directly from the interstate to the Pontoon Beach Police Department to report the incident, the release stated. Police were able to track down the Tahoe and arrest Novak and Bianco.

Novak was charged with four felony offenses: aggravated discharge of a firearm, armed habitual criminal, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number. He remained in Madison County Jail on Wednesday night on $200,000 bail.

Bianco was charged with three felony offenses: aggravated discharge of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number. He also remained in Madison County Jail on $100,000 bail.

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Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. 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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