RACINE – A Racine man was in custody Monday on multiple counts of endangering public safety by use of a dangerous weapon in connection with an Aug. 28 shooting incident.
The Racine County District Attorney’s office charged Darius L. Williams, 28, with six counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon. Each of the charges carries repeat offender and firearm enhancers.
The office also charged Williams with possession of a firearm by a felon and discharging a firearm from a vehicle towards a building or vehicle. Those charges also carry repeat offender and firearm enhancers.
Each of the reckless endangering safety counts carries a prison sentence of 12 ½ years or a fine of $25,000.
The firearm use increases the prison sentence on each count by not more than five years. The repeat offender enhancer increases the prison sentence on each count by not more than four years and prevents the offender from being placed on probation. The enhancer in this case is related to a previous felony conviction.
According to the criminal complaint, Racine Police responded to the intersection of Washington and Grange avenues on Aug. 28 on a report of shots fired.
Officers found a disabled vehicle facing westbound on Washington near Grange. The vehicle’s driver told officers that, while traveling in the 1600 block of Grange, they recognized a white Dodge Charger driven by an individual they knew because they purchase cigarettes from them.
They followed the Charger, and as that vehicle reached the intersection of Washington and Wright avenues, it began circling the intersection. Someone then began shooting from the rear seat of the Charger.
Bullets hit the disabled vehicle three times on the driver’s side. The shots disabled the by causing fuel to leak from the gas tank. The Charger then left the area.
Police found a projectile, two bullet fragments and six shell casings at the shooting scene. Police were then notified of a gunshot victim at a residence on Grange Avenue.
The victim had been a passenger in the vehicle that Williams allegedly shot at. The victim had left the scene on foot. He discovered his injuries after arriving home, the complaint states.
The victim sustained a graze wound to the buttocks. They received treatment at a local hospital.
Charger driver contacts police
A few hours later, the Charger’s driver contacted Racine Police.
The driver of the charger said the vehicle involved in the shooting had followed him earlier in the day, according to the complaint. However, he recognized the driver as someone who purchased cigarettes from him, and he had no reason to believe that person would be trying to harm him.
When he heard gunshots, he thought they were coming from the other car, the driver said. He ducked down and sped away from the area. The driver and a passenger were in the front seat. Williams was sitting in the back seat behind the passenger.
‘You hit me with your gun’
The Charger’s driver also told police that, when he heard the front seat passenger in his car yell, “Ow, you hit me with your gun!” he looked back and saw Williams holding a gun. Williams allegedly replied, “People are tweaking out there; you gotta protect yourself,” when the driver asked him why he had a gun.
The Charger’s driver dropped Williams off near Memorial Drive and Hamilton Avenue.
He also gave police permission to search the vehicle. The driver and the front-seat passenger both told police that they knew Williams and identified him from a six-person photo array provided by police.
The complaint does not state where or when police arrested Williams.
The Racine County Jail was housing Williams as of Monday afternoon.
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