Teen suspects in Auburn High School shooting to be tried as adults

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Two of the three teen suspects in Tuesday’s shooting at Auburn High School will be tried as adults, according to Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley.

Nyreek Williams, 16, and Fraquon Wright, 17, have each been charged with 2 counts of Attempted Murder, two Aggravated Battery with a Firearm, and two counts of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm on School Grounds.

Hanely said the third suspect, a 15-year-old boy, may be charged in adult court, depending on his review of the case.

“The juvenile male is not automatically transferred to adult court, so it’s my discretion, and I have the option to file a motion seeking to have the juvenile prosecuted as an adult,” Hanley said.

Hanley, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, and Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd held a news conference to announce an update on the investigation into Tuesday’s shooting at the school, located at 5110 Auburn Street.

Hanley said around 1 p.m on Tuesday, two Auburn students, a 17-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, were sitting in a car in the parking lot when a tan Buick Lacrosse, with Wisconsin plates and occupied by three teens, circled them twice.

On the second pass, two of the suspects, Williams and Wright, got out of the Buick, and ran to the parked car and opened fire, before getting back in the Buick and speeding away. Both victims are expected to be okay.

“My heart and thoughts go out to the victims in this case,” Hanley said. “Especially when a school is involved, it really is the ripples in a pond.”

Five spent 9mm shell casings were found at the scene.

Hanley said video of the incident was captured by Auburn’s surveillance cameras, and helped with the identification of the suspects.

The girl, who was shot in the leg, ran from the car while the boy, also shot, stayed within. She then returned to the car and called 911 at 1:10 p.m., Hanley said.

Ten minutes later, police spotted the Buick speeding east near 1200 Harrison Avenue. Officers pursued the occupants until they crashed at a dead end in the 2800 block of Lapey Street. Three teens, ages 15, 16 and 17, got out and ran, but were apprehended.

Police said two handguns were recovered in the investigation, one in the car and one in a garage in which two of the teens were found hiding from police.

Hanley said the Buick was reported stolen out of Janesville.

If convicted, Williams and Wright could serve up to 50 years in prison.

In response, Auburn High School instituted stricter security policies on Wednesday, including closing campus to keep students from entering leaving the building during school hours.

Police Chief Carla Redd praised officers on Wednesday, who worked quickly to put all three teens behind bars, but said that the Department is now working to do more to prevent youth crime. They recently set up a program to put adult volunteers in district schools during lunchtime and dismissal.

“It’s a community issue,” Redd said. “I don’t want to lay the blame on any particular parents by any means, but it takes a village, once again, to get these kids back on track and raise them into productive adults.”

Redd said that the Department is looking for more volunteers to get involved in the program. To volunteer, you can send an email to fillthegap@rockfordil.gov.

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