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Local News

Gang member facing murder charge found dead in jail cell bed: cops

Lockport man had been locked up since 2016 arrest

Aaron Bowers
Aaron Bowers

A Latin King facing murder charges in connection with the 2010 killing of a woman who was sitting in a parked car with her 8-year-old daughter was found dead in his jail cell Tuesday morning, police said.

Aaron Bowers, 28, was found unresponsive in his bed in the Will County jail about 5:45 a.m., according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

Paramedics with the Joliet Fire Department transported Bowers to AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center, where was pronounced deceased in the emergency room shortly before 6:30 p.m., according to the Will County Coroner’s Office.

Bowers’ autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday, the coroner’s office said. No preliminary cause or manner of death was provided Tuesday.

Bowers’ death is being investigated by the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force, according to the sheriff’s office.

Romeoville Deputy Police Chief Ken Kroll, who is the director of the major crimes task force, said he had yet to receive information on Bowers’ death Tuesday afternoon and was not at liberty to speak about it.

“It would be inappropriate for me to say anything at this time,” Kroll said.

Bowers shared his cell with another inmate, police said.

Bowers was taken into custody
Feb. 24, 2016, along with 18 others as part of a two-year investigation dubbed “Operation King Kong.”

The investigation targeted Latin King gang members and involved the Joliet police and agents from the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bowers was charged with the murder of Nichole Rodriguez, who was shot to death exactly six years and one day before his arrest.

Rodriguez, 28, along with her young daughter and stepsister were sitting in a green 1992 Oldsmobile Royale in an East Benton Street driveway when two men approached and opened fire on the car.

Former Police Chief Brian Benton and State’s Attorney James Glasgow said at the time of the arrest that evidence obtained during the gang investigation led to the charges against Bowers, but would not discuss a motive for the homicide.

Bowers bond for the murder case was set at $2.5 million.

Bowers also was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and illegal sale of a firearm, and he had a traffic warrant.

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