Three arrested after shooting in Nelson


NELSON — On Oct. 16, at approximately 11:49 p.m., deputies from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in the 100 block of East Bassett Street in Nelson for a report of an individual that had been shot in the throat. While responding to the area, information was received that the scene of the shooting took place at a residence in the 400 block of South Butler Street. 

The victim of the shooting was identified as 41-year-old, Jake Verkruysse of Erie. He was transported to KSB Hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound. He was subsequently airlifted to a Rockford area hospital for stabilization and further treatment. After a thorough and intensive investigation, arrest warrants were obtained on Dec. 15 against the following subjects.

Jake R. Verkruysse, 41, of Erie, was arrested on Dec. 15, for an arrest warrant charging the offenses of Home Invasion (a Class X Felony), Mob Action (a Class 4 Felony), and Criminal Damage to Property Under $500 (a Class A Misdemeanor). Bond on the warrant had been set at $150,000. Verkruysse was later released on the evening of Dec. 16, on a recognizance bond due to ongoing medical conditions. As a condition of his release, Verkruysse was fitted with a GPS monitoring device and was to be confined to his residence in Erie. He was only authorized to leave for court appearances or previously approved medical appointments. 

James L. Ballard, 45, of Dixon, was located and arrested on Dec. 16, by Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies on an arrest warrant charging the offenses of Mob Action (a Class 4 Felony), and Criminal Damage to Property Under $500 (a Class A Misdemeanor). Bond on the warrant had been set at $20,000. Ballard is currently on mandatory supervised release from the Illinois Department of Corrections for Delivery of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon which stemmed from Whiteside County Case Number 2018 CF 189. Ballard posted bond and was released on the evening of Dec. 16.  

Lisa R. Johnson, 41, of Dixon, turned herself in on Dec. 16, at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on an arrest warrant charging the offenses of Mob Action (a Class 4 Felony), and Criminal Damage to Property Under $500 (a Class A Misdemeanor). 

Bond on the warrant had been set at $20,000. Johnson is also currently on mandatory supervised release from the Illinois Department of Corrections for Residential Burglary from Lee County Case Number 2020 CF 136.  Johnson also posted bond and was released on the evening of Dec. 16.  

During the early morning hours of Dec. 17, Jake Verkruysse removed the GPS monitoring system that was a condition of his release. As a result of this, a new arrest warrant has been issued on charges of Escape (a Class 3 Felony) and Failure to Comply with a Condition of the Electronic Monitoring or Home Detention Program (a Class 3 Felony). Bond on the new charges has been set in the amount of $500,000.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Dec. 20, Jake Verkruysse was taken into custody in rural Henry County, by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police. Verkruysse was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Henry County Jail. Verkruysse was later transferred to the Lee County Jail where he is being held on a warrant for escape.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigation in locating Verkruysse was assisted by the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center (STIC), the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois State Police, the Lee County States Attorney’s Office, the Erie Police Department, and the Prophetstown Police Department.

The charges from this incident allege that the three individuals went to the residence in the 400 block of Butler Street, Nelson, without lawful authority, for the purpose of doing violence to the person or property. It is also alleged that they inflicted injury to the person or property. As a result of the unlawful assembly at the residence, the occupant took possession of a firearm to protect themselves. Verkruysse was shot after he entered the residence in a forceful manner.  The use of deadly force in this instance has been reviewed by the Lee County State’s Attorney’s Office and has been deemed as justified. Investigators believe that the incident appears to be drug related.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has been assisted throughout this investigation by the Lee County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Illinois State Police, the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office, the Dixon Police Department, the Erie Police Department, and the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office. 

All charges are merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.