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updated: 12/23/2012 4:23 PM

22 years for gang member in Labor Day 2011 Aurora shootings

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An Aurora man who shot at supposed gang rivals in two separate attacks during Labor Day weekend in 2011 recently was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Kane County Judge David Akemann issued the prison term to Alejandro Rodriguez, 21, of the 1300 block of Indian Avenue, last week.

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A jury in November convicted Rodriguez of two counts of armed violence, aggravated discharge of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, aggravated discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a street gang member.

Prosecutors said that Rodriguez was a passenger in car being driven by another man through the city's near east side the afternoon of Sept. 3, 2011, when they saw a person thought to be a rival gang member near North State and Kane streets. Rodriguez argued with the man and fired three shots at the victim from his .22-caliber revolver. The shots missed but hit a nearby house and a vehicle parked in a driveway, prosecutors said.

The pair drove away, but stopped a short time later near Beach and Columbia streets when they saw another man who they thought belonged to a rival gang. Rodriguez fired another three shorts at the man, missing on each one and again hitting a nearby house and car.

The men drove off and a witness called 911. After a brief search of the neighborhood, Rodriguez was arrested a short time later with five rounds of ammunition for his Smith & Wesson revolver. During a search of his home police found more than 300 rounds ammunition.

No one was injured in the shootings, which prosecutors say happened because Rodriguez wanted to improve his standing in his street gang.

"The community was put in great danger by Mr. Rodriguez's reckless acts of gang violence," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said. "This office will continue to aggressively prosecute and seek harsh sentences for such gang activity to protect the community. ... Thanks to Sgt. Alfredo Dean and investigators Abel Villanueva, Dave Tellner and Greg Christoffel of the Aurora Police Department, and to Kane County Assistant State's Attorneys Alex Bederka and Jon McKay."

Citizen police academy: The Aurora Police Department is accepting applications for the spring session of its citizen police academy, which runs for 10 Thursdays starting Feb. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the department, 1200 E. Indian Trail Road.

The academy teaches about a variety of topics. It is free, but interested applicants must register by Jan. 18, be 21 or older, submit to a background check, live or work in Aurora or own property within the city limits.

Applications are downloadable by clicking on the police department tab at aurora-il.org or by calling (630) 256-5342.

hhitzeman@dailyherald.com

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