Carjacking suspect from South Beloit identified: dead after fleeing arrest and exchanging shots with Roscoe police


Photo: Beloit Scanner, Facebook


More about the carjacking in South Beloit, the pursuit to Beloit - and the carjacker

A suspected carjacker, Ray Castro of South Townline Avenue in South Beloit, fled north from South Beloit on Saturday morning, March 16, 2024, pursued by officers from Roscoe, Beloit, Rockford, and other departments, before being shot by Roscoe Police Sgt. Robert Lewis near Central and Strong streets in Beloit, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI), which is leading the investigation, says that "officers from the Village of Roscoe, Ill. and City of Beloit attempted a vehicle containment maneuver to stop the vehicle. The subject rammed their vehicle into a Roscoe police officer’s squad car." That's when  Roscoe Police Sgt. Robert Lewis fired and struck the Castro. Despite life saving measures, Castro was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

A bystander, Aaron Lueth, says, "I was on Strong Street. He was going east on Strong, turned left onto Central going fast." Lueth thought a Roscoe Police car hit the suspect's back bumper (part of a PIT maneuver) and says Castro "spun out and started shooting. Three cop cars started returning fire, and next thing you know, cops were getting out and approaching the driver side. I think there were two people in the car. They took someone away via ambulance and the driver was laying in the driver seat."

Photo: Beloit Scanner, Facebook via Rockford Scanner

The incident began at 9:10 a.m. when South Beloit Police Officer Paul Reed stopped a car near Macktown Lounge, 1339 Dearborn Ave, on Route 251, just north of Prairie Hill Road in South Beloit, Illinois. Castro was the front seat passenger of the car, which was driven by a teenaged girl. 

When Officer Reed discovered there were two warrants for Castro's arrest (including for armed robbery) he struggled to arrest him and the girl sped away - with both men still in the car. Reed fired his gun at her, wounding her in the leg. The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office says the girl drove across the median of 251 and into a ditch. She was arrested and taken to the hospital.

But Castro jumped out of the crashed car and ran into Macktown Lounge, where a female source says he used a knife to steal a car from her husband's grandfather, then drove north.  The ensuing chase ended, fatally, in Beloit.

Afterwards, Sgt. Lewis was treated for minor injuries at an Illinois hospital and released. No other officers were injured. The City of Beloit and Roscoe police officers were wearing body cameras during the incident.

Ray Castro also was charged with fleeing from police - twice in a week - when he was 16 years old. An arrest warrant was issued after he stopped meeting with his probation officer. At 17, he and three other young men allegedly committed armed robbery at a Woodstock, IL gas station on July 10, 2022. In February 2023, Castro was charged with armed robbery, aggravated robbery, burglary, two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a handgun under 18. Castro failed to appear for a McHenry County court hearing in August 9, 2023, he forfeited his bond on Sept. 15, and a warrant was issued on Oct. 10.

The March 16 shooting incident is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI), along with the Winnebago – Boone County Integrity Task Force. DCI is assisted by Rock County Medical Examiner’s Office, City of Beloit Fire Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin State Crime Lab, a DCI Crime Response Specialist, and members of DCI’s Digital Evidence Unit. DCI says, "All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation."

The City of Beloit Police Department says "no City of Beloit Police Officers fired a weapon in this incident... Per Wisconsin law, an independent agency investigates any officer-involved shooting. All questions regarding the incident in Beloit may be directed to DCI." DCI says they are "continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the Rock County District Attorney when the investigation concludes." The South Beloit and Roscoe Police departments are not involved in this investigation, since it concerns the conduct of their own officers.

The initial news release from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office was deliberately vague about the "officer involved shootings," since the incident is still under investigation. In some jurisdictions, an incident is called an "officer involved shooting" even if nobody is injured. But Illinois law defines it more precisely as "any instance when a law enforcement officer discharges his or her firearm causing injury or death to a person or persons during the performance of his or her official duties or in the line of duty."

More News from South Beloit
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified