Joel Ponce, 23, of Round Lake Beach, (inset) was convicted this week in connection with a shooting that occurred on September 16, 2023, in a parking lot in the 1200 block of North Green Street in downtown McHenry. | Background Photo: Google Street View; Inset: Provided

A Round Lake Beach man has been sentenced to probation after he pleaded guilty to firing multiple shots in a crowded parking lot in downtown McHenry.

Joel Ponce, 23, of Round Lake Beach, was charged in September with reckless discharge of a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and reckless conduct.

He was later indicted on seven counts of reckless discharge of a firearm and two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

The McHenry Police Department responded around 12:45 a.m. on September 16 to the 1200 block of North Green Street for a gunman firing shots.

Police officials said officers arrived on the scene and learned there had been a disturbance between two people in a public parking area.

An investigation determined one of the subjects involved in the disturbance got into a vehicle and began leaving the area.

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A passenger of the vehicle, later identified as Ponce, fired several rounds from a handgun into the air as the car was leaving, police officials said.

There were no injuries reported during the incident.

A criminal complaint filed in McHenry County Circuit Court said Ponce fired the gun multiple times in the parking lot, which endangered the lives of numerous people who were present.

Other court documents said seven shots were fired in a “random manner” in a crowded area.

Ponce was taken into custody by police three days later and transported to the McHenry County Jail.

Prosecutors filed a petition to detain Ponce pre-trial, which was granted by a judge who found Ponce to be a real and present threat to the safety of others.

Court records show Ponce entered into a negotiated plea deal with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office this week.

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He pleaded guilty to one count of reckless discharge of a firearm, a Class 4 felony, and the rest of the charges were dismissed.

McHenry County Judge Mark Gerhardt approved the plea deal on Thursday and sentenced Ponce to two years of probation and 180 days in the county jail with day-for-day credit to apply pursuant to the plea.

He faced up to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The 90-day sentence is considered already served as Ponce served the time while awaiting trial.