Rock Island police investigated a report of shots being fired Tuesday around 15th Avenue and 9th Street as neighbors lamented how they’ve seen violent crime escalate in recent weeks after an otherwise quiet year.

Longtime resident Joe Butler, who also owns rental homes in the neighborhood, heard the gunshots while stepping out of his home about noon.

“I was hoping they were firecrackers,” Butler said. “It’s been hot around here, activity is up. We had a quiet summer. The fall has picked up.”

Butler said there was a shooting at 15th Avenue and 9th Street three weeks ago and another one in his neighborhood before that.

Rock Island police canvassed the neighborhood around the intersection after a report of several shots being fired in that area about noon Tuesday. No one was hit, and no property was damaged, Rock Island Police Sgt. Larry Hufford said.

About 1:30 p.m., police were raking leaves between the street and sidewalk on the northwest corner of 15th Avenue and 9th Street. Several evidence markers were placed in the area, and investigators were going door-to-door in a four-block area around the scene.

Officers located shell casings, Hufford said. He added that none of the neighbors interviewed saw anyone doing the shooting.

A half-block of 15th Avenue west of 9th Street was closed as part of the investigation.

Hufford confirmed there was a shooting near 15th Avenue and 9th Street three weeks ago that is still under investigation but couldn’t comment on whether police think the earlier shooting was related to the shots fired Tuesday.

George Harris of Rock Island said Tuesday at the scene that he was injured in the earlier shooting at the intersection. He said he and his girlfriend had left his girlfriend’s home and were crossing the intersection at 15th Avenue and 9th Street the night of Oct. 29 when he heard shots being fired and threw his girlfriend to the ground in an effort to protect her. He also hit the ground, but a stray bullet grazed him in the buttocks, he said.

“If I hadn’t fallen, I’d probably have lost my leg,” Harris said.

Harris also heard the gunshots Tuesday and stepped outside after police arrived.

He said he’s tired of the crime in the neighborhood, adding a group has been robbing neighbors recently and someone stole a PlayStation 3 game console out of his home.

“I’m trying to move,” he said. “I can’t go through this anymore.”


EARLIER STORY

1:45 p.m.

Rock Island police are canvassing a neighborhood around 15th Avenue and 9th Street following a report of several shots being fired in that area.

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About 1:30 p.m., police were raking leaves between the street and sidewalk on the northwest corner of 15th Avenue and 9th Street. Several evidence markers were placed in the area, and investigators were going door-to-door in a three-block area around the scene.

Police have not yet made a statement about the shots, but no one was injured in the incident. Several neighbors reported hearing the shots being fired. They said police appear to be investigating to determine if it was related to other recent incidents of shots being fired.

About a half block of 15th Avenue west of 9th Street has been closed as part of the investigation.


EARLIER UPDATE

12:57 p.m.

Rock Island police are on the scene of a confirmed shooting. Reports of shots fired were received shortly after 12:30 p.m. on 8th Street between 14th and 15th avenues.

More details to follow.