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Cops: Gang Dispute Led To Joliet Double Homicide

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Sjolante Q. Crowder (Credit: Joliet Police)

Sjolante Q. Crowder (Credit: Joliet Police)

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JOLIET (STMW) – An 18-year-old man is being held on $7 million bail for a Tuesday gang shooting that left two teens dead and another wounded.

At 6:50 p.m. police received numerous 911 calls about a shooting in the 700 block of Second Avenue, Chief Mike Trafton said.

“A group of about 10 to 15 people were standing in front of (a house) when a man in black clothing came up behind them from the east and started shooting,” Trafton said.

As the group scattered, Adrian Knox, 17, was struck and collapsed in a driveway on the other side of the street. Delasse Lanier, 18, was also hit and ran inside a house on the block.

Ambulances took Lanier and Knox to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Lanier died in the emergency room at 7:27 p.m. and Knox died 20 minutes later.

A 19-year-old man was also struck by gunfire and fled the scene. He was able to drive himself to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Cmdr. Brian Benton said Lanier and Knox are both have documented association with the Vice Lords street gang and the ambush may have been in retaliation for a fight that occurred earlier Tuesday in the 300 block of South Des Plaines Street. Benton said that fight involved women associated with the groups.

Lanier’s mother, Andrea Brooks said Wednesday her son was not involved with gangs.

“He was not (in a gang) to my knowledge,” she said. “He and (Knox) are childhood friends but as far as I know none of the people who hang out together are in gangs.”

Lanier graduated from Joliet West High School in June and was working for a temp service.

“He loved sports and all kinds of animals. He was always trying to get dogs (as pets) and kept fish,” his mother said.

Brooks’ son was accompanying her to the grocery store when they decided to stop in the 700 block of Second Avenue to visit with his girlfriend and some other friends.

“They were just talking and then there was a 30-second span of shooting. He ran up and grabbed me and told me there was a (guy with) a gun,” Brooks said. “I saw he was bleeding as he pushed me into the house and then he got inside and collapsed.”

Knox collapsed in Arthur Henderson’s driveway, but Henderson, who was upstairs with his family, didn’t hear the gunfire.

“A (young woman) was beating on the door and broke the glass trying to get inside. I thought at first she was being beaten but she was screaming and saying her boyfriend had been shot right in my yard,” Henderson said.

Henderson estimated about 30 police vehicles were in the neighborhood as the investigation began.

“Many times there is not a lot of cooperation with these investigations, but this was the exact opposite,” Trafton said. “Several witnesses came forward and we were able to identify a suspect very quickly.”

Sjolante Q. Crowder, of 1509 Inglewood Ave., is a self-admitted member of the Gangster Disciples. Arrest warrants charging him with two counts of murder and several other offenses were issued Wednesday morning.

At 11:35 a.m. tactical officers were tipped that Crowder was outside in the 200 block of Richards Street.

“They arrived to see him sitting on a porch talking with two other people,” Benton said.

When he saw police approaching he tried to run away, but officers caught him, Benton said. Crowder was not armed when he was arrested, according to reports.

“I’m very happy to hear they’ve arrested someone. I hope he’s the (right) suspect and I hope justice will be done,” Brooks said.

Police said there are no connections between Tuesday’s fatal shooting and the Monday night slaying of an 18-year-old man at an apartment in the 1000 block of Lois Place.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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