UPDATE: Police offer more information on Janesville shooting

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Frank Schultz and Neil Johnson
Monday, June 19, 2017

JANESVILLE -- Janesville is not used to a lot of gun violence, so after three serious shootings in four weeks, Janesville police are looking for things that the incidents have in common.

Lt. Terry Sheridan, who heads the police detective bureau, said Monday they haven't found any direct connections between:

-- The shooting death of Eddie L. Jones, 28, of Markham, Illinois, at 116 S. Franklin St. on May 28. Barquis D. McKnight, 32, of Beloit is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in that incident.

-- The bullets fired at an occupied car near the intersection of Center Avenue and Johnson Street on June 5. Sundiata M. Roach, 21, who has said he is homeless, is charged with first-degree recklessly endangering safety in the incident.

-- Sunday's wounding of a Janesville man in the first block of North Washington Street.

Officers are assigned to look for things these incidents have in common, in hopes of finding a way to prevent future shootings, Sheridan said.

Sheridan noted some suspects and victims in these incidents were from Janesville, some from out of town.

Their ages varied from 16 to 32.

One thing they have in common is they happened in a low-income area on the city's near west side, a largely working-class area that contains many low-rent houses. The first two were in the Fourth Ward neighborhood, and the third was just outside the Fourth Ward.

Police have long focused on that area, using crime-prevention methods such as holding informal events, forging relationships with residents and a light bulb giveaway to keep house fronts illuminated at night.

Two other shootings in the past six months also happened in the Fourth Ward. One was Nov. 7, in which a man was seriously injured in what police described as a marijuana deal gone bad in the 300 block of Wilson Street.

The other was Dec. 29, when shots were fired into an occupied house at 305 Rockport Road in what police suspected was revenge for a homicide in Beloit with gang connections.

Police on Monday named a suspect in the most recent shooting and said they want him for questioning. He is Anthony T. Gibson, 32, of 1310 Townline Ave., Beloit. Police described him as a black, 5-foot-5-inch, 210-pound male with brown eyes and black hair, according to a news release.

Gibson is also wanted by probation and parole officials, according to a news release.

Gibson is the only suspect, Sheridan said.

The man injured in the shooting was alert and talked to officers Monday, Sheridan said.

Police have not confirmed a motive, and they are not sure how Gibson and the wounded man know each other, but they know they have had “interactions” in the past, Sheridan said.

Police said the man's wound or wounds were serious, and 9 mm bullets also lodged in a house and parked car.

The shooting was reported at 10:34 p.m. Sunday on North Washington Street between Court and Wall streets.

Sheridan said it appears the two confronted each other on the sidewalk, leading to the shooting.

The 32-year-old Janesville man was transported to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, Janesville. As of Monday morning, he was still being treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries from gunshots, according to a news release.

His identity has not yet been released.

After the victim was shot, he ran a few blocks west on Court Street, Sheridan said, and police found him collapsed on North Terrace Street.

Police think the victim was shot twice: One bullet went into his chest, and another bullet grazed his back. Sheridan said because of the nature and severity of the victim's injuries, he was initially able to give police only “limited information” about the shooting.

Investigators were on the scene early Monday. One officer was using a police dog in the investigation, a Gazette reporter observed.

Police have recovered multiple shell casings from the scene, and Sheridan said one bullet struck a nearby house and another bullet hit an unoccupied vehicle. The victim was the only person hurt in the shooting, police believe.

Four to six shots were fired, Sheridan said.

Sheridan said many of the multiple reports police got about the shooting came from neighbors who'd heard shots. Others were out walking or driving in the neighborhood when the shooting happened.

Gazette reporter Alison Bradley contributed to this story.

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