(Lake County, IL) – An early afternoon road rage-related shooting incident, within 600 feet of a middle school in Waukegan, resulted in a 10-year prison sentence for a Waukegan man under a plea deal approved Friday in Lake County Circuit Court.
Although no one was hurt in the shooting, the defendant, Aaron Johnson, 28, shot twice at a vehicle that was driving away from him on New York Avenue toward Grand Avenue just after 1:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2019.
“The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has zero tolerance for road rage and is committed to protecting motorists from shootings,” Jeff Facklam, Chief of the State’s Attorney’s Felony Division, said Friday after the plea deal was completed in court. “This was a busy area of Waukegan right in the middle of a school day.”
Under the plea deal, agreed upon by the State’s Attorney’s Office as well as Johnson and his attorney, Johnson pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence.
The resolution to the case was approved Friday morning by Lake County Circuit Judge James Booras.
Prosecutors said Johnson was the passenger in a car whose driver cut off the driver of a pickup truck near the intersection of Lewis Avenue and Grand Avenue — about three blocks west of the intersection of New York Avenue and Grand Avenue.
The man in the pickup truck, now a 61-year-old Waukegan resident, told police that after he was cut off, Johnson and a woman in the other car began “flipping him off,” and that he pulled into a parking lot at Grand Avenue and New York Avenue.
The driver of the car with Johnson inside pulled up to the parking lot. Johnson got out the car with a gun in his hand, and began walking toward the victim’s vehicle. Seeing the gun, the victim then pulled out of the parking lot, driving past Johnson, who chased the truck briefly on foot, and fired two shots in the direction of the pickup truck.
Facklam said it is not clear where the two bullets ended up, but they were fired toward the victim’s vehicle in a busy area. He said school was in session that day, and a witness in the case, who saw the shooting, was in the area on his way to pick up his child from school at the time.
Business surveillance cameras in the area caught the incident in the parking lot and Johnson shooting at the pickup as the victim drove away. According to police reports, the shooting occurred about 564 feet from Daniel Webster Middle School.
Under the plea agreement, the sentence will be served at 85 percent and Johnson will be given credit for time served in Lake County Jail since his arrest on the same day that the shooting occurred. Prosecutors said Johnson has prior convictions for weapon and drug charges.
Johnson expressed remorse and apologized for his conduct during the proceedings Friday.
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