Rockford, Illinois News

Arrest made in CherryVale Mall shooting; incident captured on video

CHERRY VALLEY — Local authorities have announced charges against a Rockford man in a shooting incident in the CherryValley Mall parking lot earlier this month.

Marquise Caldwell, 31, is charged with aggravated discharged of a firearm in the Feb. 14 shooting that occurred just before 1 p.m., near the Macy’s entrance.

Aggravated discharged of a firearm is Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison.

“Because of Mr. Caldwell’s prior record and criminal history, including two convictions for gun possession, he is also being charged as an armed habitual criminal,” Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley said during a press conference at CherryVale Mall. “This is a Class X felony, punishable by six to 30 years.”

Photos from a surveillance camera showing three men were released after the shooting, and police asked the public for help identifying them. Images released Thursday show a man authorities say is Caldwell shopping, following another man and leaving the mall holding what appears to be a handgun. Prosecutors say a video of the incident shows the same man firing the weapon and his intended target running toward a white SUV.

A security guard heard the shots and alerted police, who arrived on the scene within minutes. Several shell casings were recovered from the area where the gunman was standing.

“If you come (to the CherryVale Mall), we want you here,” Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana said. “We want you to shop here. This is a very nice mall. It’s been here a long time, since 1973. But if you are here with bad intentions, be aware. We are going to find you. We are going to investigate you, and we will arrest you for anything that goes on here. There is a highly sophisticated camera system. We have officers from the county, city, state and Cherry Valley right here on the property. We welcome everyone to this mall, a great environment, and we want to continue to do that.”

Hanley added that shoppers from nine surrounding counties frequent CherryVale on a daily basis.

“We can’t, and we won’t lose this mall to criminals,” the state’s attorney said. “We will all work tirelessly to keep this mall safe. This case is evidence of the vigilance with which this mall is protected. Mr. Caldwell was seen on video from the moment he walked into the mall until he walked outside. The shooting in the parking lot was on video. We don’t need the alleged target of the shooting to prosecute the case. The proof in this case is based mostly on the video surveillance.”