Joining forces to combat gangs

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A man with gang affiliations and outstanding warrants is in police custody after a car chase Monday morning.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 28-year old Qwantrell Ayers. Last week, he was linked to a gang involved in eleven shootings over the past month.

A sheriff’s deputy was on routine patrol when he spotted a driver speeding and acting strangely. They say Ayers’ arrest is a small win in a part of a bigger problem.

The arrest of a man with gang connections started with a speeding vehicle.

“We ended up in a chase, which ultimately resulted in a crash and we ended up arresting Qwantrell Ayers.”

Ayers is one of six people named by police to have ties to gangs responsible for recent shootings. The others include Eric Kirk, Shamario Brown, Jamar Lewis, Kenichi Townsend and Equarieon Jeter. All have outstanding warrants.

“They’re not nearly as organized as the gangs, like the Vice Lords or things like that that you hear about.”

Sheriff Dan Walsh says the gangs are responsible for eleven retaliation shootings in the past month and there’s a reason for the increase.

“We have made arrests, put people in prison, but unfortunately, some of them, believe it or not, so much time has passed that they are now getting out of prison and we think they’re going to add to the level of violence we already see.”

Walsh says some known gang members got out of prison just a few weeks ago.

“And, as you noticed, we kind of had an uptick in the number of shootings.”

Now, local law enforcement is working together to try to change that. They’ve increased patrols and investigative resources in neighborhoods where the shootings are happening. They won’t stop until the gang violence does.

“We’re going to continue working with the combined task force and, as we can make cases, try to pick them off one at a time if we have to.”

Ayers had outstanding warrants for DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and resisting a police officer.

Multiple agencies are combining forces including Champaign, Urbana, UI police departments and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office to stop targeted gang shootings. They say it’s essential to speak up if you know anything. 

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