State Police Charge 2: Allegedly Followed and Shot at Victim Fleeing Route 53 Spur into Lake Terramere, Arlington Heights

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Victor Ponce, charged with Attempted Murder (SOURCE: Cook County Sheriff's Office)
Victor Ponce, 5’7″ 132 LBS, charged with Attempted Murder (SOURCE: Cook County Sheriff’s Office).

Illinois State police began investigating a shots fired incident connected to possible road rage incident that began I-290 and elevated to a shots fired incident in the northbound lanes of the Route 53 Spur between Dundee Road and Lake Cook Road. A bullet the victim’s white pickup truck on Wednesday evening, January 17, 2024. The bullet was allegedly discharged by a shooter in a gray Honda.

No injuries were reported. The victim proceeded to drive his pickup truck into the Lake Terramere neighborhood of Arlington Heights, which is located south of Lake Cook Road and east of the Route 53 Spur … but closer to Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights. No shots were reported fired in the Lake Terramerre neighborhood, although one or both vehicles may have entered the Lake Terramere neighborhood after two shots were fired on the Route 53 Spur. Illinois State Police received the report from the victim just after 5:35 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

The victim was able to provide a partial license plate to the initial Illinois State Police trooper investigating the incident. The driver of the charcoal gray Honda and the passenger fled the area shortly after shooting at the white pickup truck.

The victim told the Illinois State Police trooper that the driver of a gray Honda was tail-gaiting him on the Route 53 Spur (between Dundee Road and Lake Cook Road). The victim reported that the driver of the gray Honda then pulled along side him, and the occupants of the Honda tried to get the driver of the pickup truck to roll down his window. The victim driving the pickup truck did not comply, and attempted to separate himself from the offenders in the Honda. Allegedly, a passenger later identified as Victor Ponce, who was sitting as a passenger in the Honda, fired two shots at the white pickup truck. Both the driver of the Honda, later identified as Malik Sutherland, and Victor Ponce attempted to conceal their identities while the shots were fired at the victim’s pickup truck.

After the shooting, Illinois State Police police responded to a street in the Lake Terramere neighborhood in Arlington Heights to meet with the victim.

Next, Illinois State Police investigators shut down the northbound lanes of Route 53 Spur between Dundee Road and Lake Cook Road around 8:20 p.m. for a casings canvas of the roadway. The Route 53 Spur was re-opened by 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, 2024. Illinois State Police didn’t describe whether any casings were discovered in a news release to the public.

Apparently the victim last saw the offender after the offenders’ vehicle and the victim’s vehicle exited Route 53 at eastbound Lake Cook Road.

The shots were reported fired at the white Silverado pickup truck around 5:35 p.m. on northbound Route 53 near Lake Cook Road near the borders of Arlington Heights, unincorporated Arlington Heights and Long Grove.

Lake Terramere is the furthermost north neighborhood in Arlington Heights that borders Lake County and Long Grove at Lake Cook Road.

One bullet hole was discovered in the white Silverado pickup truck.

As reported above, no injuries were reported, and Arlington Heights Fire Department paramedics were not requested for any patient assessments related to the incident.

Initially in January, the Illinois State Police did not indicate whether they had a person of interest identified, and did not initially release any physical description of the shooter, or indicate whether the shooter was also the driver or a passenger.

During a subsequent continuing investigation, Illinois State Police investigators were able to discover License Plate Reader images of the gray Honda, which was determined to be registered to Malik Sutherland. Allegedly, Malik Sutherland was driving the gray Honda when the shooting occurred.

Also, cellphone forensics determined that Malik Sutherland was at the location of the shots fired incident when the shots were reported fired.

The defendants were also identified by the victim in a photo array of subjects.

Malik Sutherland, 6'5" 200 LBS, charged with Attempted Murder (SOURCE: Cook County Sheriff's Office)
Malik Sutherland, 6’5″ 200 LBS, charged with Attempted Murder (SOURCE: Cook County Sheriff’s Office).

During the months-long period of the investigation, Malik Sutherland was involved in a property damage crash on I-290 at Lavergne Avenue in Chicago on January 27, 2024 just before 3:00 p.m. Sutherland was not arrested for the shots fired incident earlier in January, but he was charged with Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle and Driving Too Fast for Conditions.

Also during the shots fired investigation, Illinois State Police recovered evidence from the victim vehicle, conducted numerous interviews and photo line-ups, and executed several search warrants. Illinois State Police detectives were able to identify the suspect’s vehicle, and identified Sutherland and Ponce as suspects. Illinois State Police agents arrested Sutherland and Ponce on March 19, 2024. Both are charged with Attempted Murder.

The prosecutor’s request for pre-trial detention was denied, and both suspects were ordered to enter the Cook County Sheriff’s house arrest program with electronic monitoring.

Malik Sutherland was ordered to surrender any firearms that he owns to the Illinois State Police. Victor Ponce was ordered to surrender any firearms that he owns to the Buffalo Grove Police Department.

Malik Sutherland lives in Hoffman Estates and possibly also Buffalo Grove with Victor Ponce, who lives in Buffalo Grove.

Victor Ponce, while a resident of McHenry, has previously been arrested in the City of Chicago. Following a police pursuit in the City of Chicago on May 17, 2023 around 11:40 p.m. Victor Ponce was charged with Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding, and was cited for Disobeying a Traffic Control Signal, and Disobeying a Stop Sign twice while fleeing police over the speed limit. He was also cited for turning off his headlamps. The pursuit allegedly occurred near Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street, Racine Avenue and Kinzie Street, and Racine Avenue and Carroll Avenue. Ponce was arrested in the block of 800 North Larrabee Street in Chicago. Ponce was also charged with Battery Causing Bodily Harm.

The charges against Victor Ponce related to the police pursuit were subsequently dropped.


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The Illinois State Police (ISP) launched an educational, public awareness campaign focused on reducing incidents involving road rage on January 4, 2023. The new campaign, Road Rage. Don’t Engage. is designed to raise awareness about an increase in road rage incidents leading to violence, as well as educate the public on the signs of road rage and tips on how to prevent and handle these situations.

Road rage is anger and frustration caused by the stress of driving in a motor vehicle. Some of the most common signs of road rage and aggressive driving are:

Following too closely or tailgating

Improper or erratic lane changing

Illegally driving on the shoulder of the road (emergency lane), in a ditch/median, or on sidewalk

Passing where prohibited

Failure to yield right of way

Failure to obey traffic laws, signs, and devices

Failure to yield to emergency personnel and construction zone speed limits

Failure to signal

Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit or racing

Making an improper turn

ISP reminds the public that when it comes to aggressive drivers and road rage, don’t engage.

The Illinois State Police recommended the following tips on how to avoid being the victim of road rage:
(Of course, depending on circumstances, some of the tips aren’t practical to utilize.)

If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move to your right and allow them to pass

When merging, make sure you have plenty of room and use your turn signal

If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room to merge into your lane

If a speeding driver is tailgating you, safely change lanes when able

Making gestures might anger the other driver; create distance and avoid confrontation

If another driver is acting angry, don’t make eye contact

The last two recommendations are 100 percent applicable. Making gestures or making eye contact, or even communicating verbally with another driver are likely to escalate the situation, and these actions are also likely to distract from actual driving. For example, while you’re focused on engaging with one driver, you could rear-end another third-party vehicle or drift into another lane and hit another vehicle. Also, escalation has its own risks because there is a significant risk that a motorist might react by displaying a weapon or firing a shot.

If you are the victim of road rage or believe a driver is following or harassing you, the Illinois State Police recommend calling 911 and/or going to the nearest police department to report it.

❝Don’t lose your temper or your life. Road Rage. Don’t Engage.❞

— Illinois State Police

More information about road rage and Road Rage. Don’t Engage.

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