Traffic Stop Leads to Gun Charges

On Monday, April 9, 2018, at approximately 11:30 p.m., a Chevrolet Camaro was stopped by a Fairview Heights patrol officer for two Illinois Vehicle Code violations in the area of Illinois Route 161 and St. Clair Avenue. While the officer spoke to the driver and front seat passenger, he noticed a long box in the backseat which contained an AK 47 rifle. The officer removed both occupants to investigate the firearm further. While conducting his investigation, he found that the driver:

Rynaldo V Cotton
23 years of age
300 block of Biggs Dr
Belleville, IL

Had a revoked Illinois Firearm Owner Identification card, and was not allowed to possess a firearm. Cotton was placed under arrest and later taken to the Fairview Heights Police Department. The gun was found to have one round in the chamber and was ready to fire. The loaded magazine was found in the center console also loaded with ammunition.

At the completion of the investigation, the case was presented to the St. Clair County State’s Attorney, Brendan Kelly’s office seeking charges for illegally possessing the firearm.

On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Cotton was charged with one-count of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon; his bond was set at $20,000. He was later transported to the St. Clair County Jail.

The passenger in the vehicle was not charged in the incident.

*All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.