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Photo by Diane Cox
Sonya Dixon (left), the mother of Romell Jones, stood with family members to hear the information released at a press conference on Thursday at the Alton Police Department concerning the arrest of the man charged with shooting her son.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Deputy Commander of the Major Case Squad Jeffery Connor addressed the family of Romell Jones and members of the media to announce an arrest had been made in the youth’s death.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons explained the charges that 18-year-old Ta’mon F. Ford of Alton will face for the shooting death of 11-year-old Romell Jones.
ALTON — Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons called the death of 11-year-old Romell Jones a tragic and senseless murder.
Just hours after a candlelight ceremony at the location of the shooting, the family of Jones was notified of charges filed in the case.
The Alton Police Department held a press conference at 4 p.m. Thursday to announce major developments. Ta’mon F. Ford, 18, of Alton was arrested Thursday morning after the red 1999 Oldsmobile Alero believed to be involved in Monday’s shooting at Alton Acres housing complex was located by law enforcement officers. The vehicle was transported by tow truck to the police department for evidence processing.
“We have made an arrest in the homicidal death of the young boy who was killed Monday night,” Deputy Commander of the Major Case Squad Jeffery Connor said. “After four long days of investigation and with hours of hard work from the men and women in our local law enforcement departments and through the cooperation of many people; the citizens of Alton helped greatly and were able to offer many leads to help in the investigation that allowed us to take the person responsible for this act into custody this morning.”
Ford was officially charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree murder through the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Madison County. Both counts, Class M felonies, pertained to an unlawful discharge of a firearm with the intent to kill and are based on two theories of proof.
“There was a disagreement between two groups of people on social media leading up to the shooting,” Connor said. “The altercation on social media led to what was intended to be a fight that was to take place, but when the car drove by, one of the occupants of the car pulled out a gun and began firing in the direction of the youth center; which had probably 20 to 30 young people standing on the parking lot. Ultimately, the young man who was not involved was the one who ended up struck and killed.”
Romell Jones was waiting outside the Alton Acres housing complex recreation center on Monday evening in the 3100 block of Paul Street in Alton for a ride to basketball practice when Ford fired a firearm in the direction of a nearby crowd, striking 11-year-old Jones. Jones was pronounced dead at 6:02 p.m. at OSF St. Anthony’s Hospital in Alton by the Madison County Coroner’s Office.
Ford, who has prior offenses on record, remained in custody at the Alton Police Department Thursday afternoon and will be transported to the Madison County Jail, where he will be held without bond as he awaits his trial.
“It was tips from the public and hard work from the officers and Major Case Squad and a little bit of luck that made today’s arrest possible,” Connor said. “We want to give kudos to our citizens who kept the phone ringing with information and now everyone can sleep a little easier tonight. Security footage helped in confirming the vehicle involved.”
Ford is facing up to 65 years in prison, but at the judge’s discretion, a natural life sentence could be imposed. An additional 25 years may be added for the aggravated count because of the victim’s age.
Sonya Dixon, Romell’s mother, was present with more than a dozen family members to witness the press conference and to thank the officers of the Major Case Squad personally for their hard work to obtain a quick arrest of the person responsible for her son’s death.
“I want to thank you all so much,” Dixon said to the crowd of officers who worked Romell’s case.
“This does give us a little closure, but we have a long way to,” Dixon said. “We are just going to take things one day at a time. I’m just ready to get past this and bury my son so we can heal and move forward. We are blessed for the love and support of the community.”
Romell Jones’ funeral is Tuesday at the Deliverance Temple; the wake will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with the funeral at 11 a.m. He will be buried at the Upper Alton Cemetery.
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