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


Photo: Beloit Scanner, Facebook

Details have been released about the carjacking in South Beloit that led to the fatal police shooting of the suspect as he exchanged fire with Roscoe police. The carjacking is being investigated by the office of the Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley and the Winnebago Boone County Integrity Task Force while the fatal shooting is being handled by the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

The incident began on March 16, 2024, about 9:10 a.m. when South Beloit Police Officer Paul Reed stopped a vehicle going south of IL 251, across from Macktown Lounge, north of Prairie Hill Road. The driver was a teenaged girl, the single mother of two small children. In the front seat sat Ray Castro, 19, of South Townline Avenue in South Beloit, wearing a gray sweatshirt. When Office Reed discovered two arrest warrants for Castro, he called for backup and waited.

After more officers arrived to assist, the police asked Castro to get out of the vehicle. According to a statement by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney's office, "Castro refused and the officers attempted to forcibly remove him. Castro resisted and a struggle ensued." At that point, as Reed tried to arrest Castro, the girl hit the gas hard and sped away - with both Reed and Castro still struggling inside the vehicle. She knocked down a South Beloit Police officer with her car, who was able to escape being run over. The statement continues, "Officer Reed fired his service weapon, striking the female driver in the leg. The vehicle went through the center median and through the northbound lanes of IL 251 before coming to rest in the ditch on the east side of IL 251," near Macktown Lounge.

Castro jumped out of the crashed car and ran into Macktown Lounge, 1339 Dearborn Ave, on Route 251. Inside the lounge, a 78 year old man named Danny was cleaning the bar. Castro pulled out a knife, demanded keys, and fled in the stolen maroon 2004 Trailblazer. (Danny's vehicle is now totaled. Family and friends have started a GoFundMe page to get him a new one.) The girl was arrested and taken to a Rockford hospital, where she was in stable condition. Castro headed to Beloit, WI.

Officer Reed may have felt a sense of déjà vu, since Castro reportedly had fled from Officer Reed once before, when he was 16 years old, on July 22, 2021 at 1 a.m. For that, Castro was charged in Winnebago County with Agg Fleeing Police/21 MPH Over. Five days later, Castro was charged with doing it again, this time fleeing from Beloit Police. For that, Wisconsin charges included Vehicle Operator Flee/Elude Officer and Reckless Driving-Cause Bodily Harm. Castro was sentenced to a year of probation in April 2023 under the Wisconsin Department of Corrections but stopped reporting to his supervising office. He eventually owed more than $4,000 in restitution and late/collections fee, for crimes against El Amigo Auto Sales in Rockford. When told of Castro's death, an El Amigo representative said, "This is the first we hear of him since the incident involving us a few years ago. Prayers to his family and all involved."

Roscoe and Beloit Police Officers identified the stolen vehicle on Route 251 and went to work to stop it. Beloit Police radio reported that Castro's route first went west on Prairie Hill, past Dollar General, then northbound on South Bluff. One officer set himself at the Shirland Avenue bridge. But after Castro passed Rood Avenue, he turned off from South Bluff to 8th Street into Beloit. Entering Wisconsin, police estimated Castro's speed at 60 mph. Then he went east on Portland Avenue, crossed 4th Street and the Rock River, continued eastward on Woodward, turned left on Prairie, and finally turned right on Strong Avenue.

At Central and Strong Avenues in Beloit, Wisconsin, pursuing officers performed a "PIT maneuver," in which a police car gently pushes a vehicle to the side, forcing it to turn and stop. But Castro rammed his vehicle into the driver’s door of the Roscoe officer's squad car. A Roscoe Police officer fired and struck Castro. Despite life saving measures, Ray 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 saw a Roscoe Police car hit the suspect's back bumper (part of the 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."


Afterwards, a Roscoe police officer 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. A WKOW story showed the Roscoe squad car had to be towed.

Besides the charges in Wisconsin, it turns out Castro was charged with more serious crimes in Illinois: armed robbery of a Woodstock, IL gas station on July 10, 2022. He and two other young men were arrested two days later when their getaway car was crashed in West Allis, WI. Castro was still under 18 at the time of the robbery, as were the others in the car. Unaware of the armed robbery 70 miles away, where police were still looking for the suspects, West Allis police released the youths to their parents, according to Lake & McHenry County Scanner. Later the armed robbery cases were transferred from juvenile court.

In November 2022, an Illinois arrest warrant was issued for Resisting or Obstructing an Officer on the date of the Woodstock robbery. 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.

Castro's Facebook page, last updated when he was 16, included shorthand abbreviations that he was beating his opposition, was ready and willing to fight, was involved with a gang, and didn't like six other gangs. He also told his grandmother, in Spanish, "I love you very much too and you take good care of yourself ok." On September 15, 2023, his 9 year old brother shot and killed his 10 year old playmate Aidyn Hansen with a gun that had not been locked up at the Castro's South Beloit home.

Ray Castro and his sister Rosi, who has also died, in a 2013 Facebook photo.
Ray Castro, South Beloit, 4/12/2023. Photo: Wisconsin Department of Corrections

After the fatal shooting, the statement by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney's office continues, "After the officer involved shooting, and at the request of South Beloit Police Chief Adam Truman and Roscoe Police Chief Samuel Hawley, the Winnebago Boone County Integrity Task Force arrived on scene and took over the investigation. Officers from the South Beloit and Roscoe Police Departments will not participate in the investigation.

"Task Force investigators are in the preliminary portion of the investigation and will begin interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence from the scene, and obtaining video evidence, including officers’ body cam footage. Once their investigation of the incident in which the female was shot is complete, they will turn over their investigative reports to the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office for review and a determination of whether criminal charges are warranted against any of the involved officers.

"The Winnebago County State’s Attorney will not be reviewing the officer involved death that occurred in Rock County, Wisconsin. Rather, that incident will be investigated by Wisconsin’s Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). The Rock County District Attorney will then review DCI’s investigation to determine whether criminal charges [against the police officers] are warranted."

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