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State police will use video surveillance on expressways to combat shootings

Illinois State Police said they will use video surveillance cameras on expressways to curb shootings on the roads.

The announcement came during a Wednesday morning news conference about the arrests of two alleged gang members in connection with an expressway shooting death in September.

“The ISP is currently implementing surveillance cameras throughout the Chicago-area expressways to assist in deterring expressway shootings and finding the offenders,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz.

Schmitz would not elaborate on the quantity or location of the cameras, saying only they were “existing” cameras and the police are looking into purchasing more. State police also have added patrols on Interstate 290 and the Dan Ryan, he said.

The cameras are “owned by the state, but we haven’t had the ability to monitor these. They have just become available to us to monitor,” said Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Matt Boerwinkle.

He declined to provide more information about the cameras, including who paid for them or uses them and for what purpose.

The cameras will not be used for speed traps because “there is no radar associated with those cameras,” Boerwinkle said.

So far this year, there have been 22 expressway shootings, which is “pretty much on path” with the 20 shootings last year during the same time period, he said. Most have been gang-related, he said.

“If someone shoots a gun on an Illinois expressway, the ISP will use every resource possible to find the offender and bring them to justice,” Schmitz said.

Terreon Johnson, 27, of Wood Dale, and Irell Dickens, 29, of Chicago, each face a first-degree murder charge after Devon Almon, 24, of Chicago, was shot and killed on eastbound I-290 at Central Avenue on Sept. 29, Schmitz said.

“The investigation revealed that Johnson coordinated a group of associates to locate Almon, follow him and kill him,” Schmitz said. “The killing was in retaliation for the murder of an associate of Johnson’s, which occurred in July 2016.”

The shooting on the Eisenhower happened about noon Sept. 29, after Almon had left the Maybrook District Court, driven by a woman, according to state police. After the shooting, which took place while they were waiting at a red light, the driver went to nearby Loretto Hospital, where Almon was pronounced dead.

Almon, a member of the “New Breed” gang, had twice had people try to kill him in retaliation for the killing of “an associate” of Johnson’s who had been killed in July, according to state police. Johnson coordinated a group of people to track Almon and try to kill him, including once on July 28, 2016, in Chicago, and on Aug. 4, 2016, at a fast-food drive-through in Bolingbrook, also after someone followed him from Maybrook, state police said.

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