File Photo – Zion-Benton High School | Photo: Riley Construction

Police found a 17-year-old boy with a fully automatic gun after arresting him for committing a January shooting outside of a Zion-Benton Township High School basketball game.

The Zion Police Department and Zion Fire Rescue Department responded around 9:15 p.m. on January 31 to the school, located at 3901 21st Street in Zion.

Police officials said a shooting occurred outside of the school in the parking.

Zion was hosting Waukegan for a varsity basketball game at the time of the incident.

Police officials said 911 calls were made regarding shots fired and officers arrived within moments as they were already nearby.

Officers requested assistance from nearby police agencies due to the number of people present.

Two cars were damaged and the offenders fled the scene.

No one was reported to be shot but one person was evaluated by paramedics after being trampled.

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A parent said she was at the game with her two children when she witnessed a teenager jump out of a passenger side door of a silver four-door sedan and begin “unloading an extended clip.”

“I didn’t even know what to do, while everyone else was running and ducking,” the mother said.

Another witness said attendees were leaving the basketball game and kids began running back inside screaming when the shooting occurred.

Zion Police Department Detective Lt. Paul Kehrli said a major investigation was launched into the incident.

A review of the school’s video system showed that three people arrived at the game in a silver vehicle and attended until almost half-time.

The three subjects returned to their car but did not leave the parking lot.

As the game ended and spectators began leaving, the front passenger of the silver vehicle exited and began firing a handgun multiple times.

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The shooter appeared to target specific people in a group and the video showed the shooter firing directly at someone from less than 10 feet away, Kehrli said.

The silver car fled the scene at a high rate of speed after the shooter got into the vehicle.

Kehrli said the group of targeted subjects also left the school prior to police arriving on the scene.

Detectives were able to identify the targeted victims and determined none of them were Zion-Benton Township High School students.

Detectives contacted them but none of them were willing to speak with police about a motive or what happened, Kehrli said.

The suspected shooter was identified by detectives as a 17-year-old boy from Round Lake, who escaped from a juvenile detention center in December 2022.

The Zion Street Crime Unit last Wednesday located the suspect leaving the Marcus Gurnee Mills Cinema and took him into custody with the assistance of the Gurnee Police Department.

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The suspect was armed with a fully automatic handgun at the time of his arrest, Kehrli said.

The suspect was transported back to the juvenile detention center and is facing several counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Kehrli said the boy is also suspected of committing serious crimes after his jail escape. Charges are pending for those crimes.