A suspect in a string of weekend carjackings, including one that ended in a crash that killed an 11-year-old boy, was arrested this morning after U.S. marshals in SUVs pinned him in at a McDonald's drive-thru in Milwaukee, authorities said.
Rockie Douglas, 34, was waiting for food at the McDonald's on the northwest side of the city when deputy marshals pulled in front and back of him around 11:30 a.m., according to Ed Farrell, supervisory inspector of the task force. A woman in the car with him was not injured.
"He attempted to use the female passenger as a human shield, briefly," said Douglas Bachert, supervisory deputy U.S. marshal in Milwaukee.
Douglas was tracked down after using credit cards he had stolen earlier this month in a purse-snatching in Gurnee, authorities said.
"We developed information that he was on the north side of (Milwaukee)," Farrell said. "We were able to pin him in the drive-thru and keep him from fleeing again."
Douglas was spotted still driving the blue Honda Accord he had carjacked on the ramp from Interstate Highway 294 to the Reagan Memorial Tollway to escape police over the weekend, authorities said. He was taken to the Milwaukee County Jail to await extradition to Chicago, Bachert said.
Douglas had been sought since Saturday when, driving a stolen car, he barreled into a Chevrolet Suburban and killed 11-year-old Donovan Turnage on the South Side, police said. Donovan, his brother and their father were out getting haircuts for the holiday, relatives said.
"We just spun," said Donovan's brother, Derrick Turnage, 20, who was also in the Suburban. "And my father was hollering … 'Where is Donovan?' And I looked back, and I reached for his coat, but he was nowhere in the back."
Then they saw Donovan sprawled on the curb, Derrick said. "I held his head, and I looked him in his eye. I already (could) tell he drifted away right there," he said.
Donovan's mother, Annette Mayfield-Turnage, found out about Douglas's capture when she got a call from a relative, who heard about the arrest on the news.
"I want to thank the news, the public … and everyone else for their support," Mayfield-Turnage said this afternoon. "We want to thank everyone … especially (Donovan's) school."
A police source said authorities believe Douglas embarked on a carjacking spree around 11:20 a.m. Friday on the North Side, when he forced a woman out of a green Dodge minivan at a gas station along West Irving Park Road.
About noon on Saturday, officers responded to a 911 call of a suspicious vehicle at 51st and Halsted streets in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, another police source said. When officers identified the vehicle as the one that had been carjacked the day before, they tried to approach it but the driver sped away, authorities said.
Police pursued the vehicle south on Halsted until at Garfield Boulevard it crashed into the Chevrolet Suburban carrying the Turnage family, police sources said.
The suspect then raced away on foot and, authorities allege, carjacked another vehicle, a Toyota SUV, at a nearby gas station. While driving the SUV, the suspect rammed into a police sergeant's squad car before heading onto Garfield in the opposite lanes of traffic, police said.
Chicago police stopped pursuing the driver once he entered the Dan Ryan Expressway about a mile away. He again drove in the wrong direction, heading north in the southbound lanes, police sources said.
But then, according to the chain of events described by authorities, the SUV broke down on a ramp from I-294 to the Reagan Memorial Tollway. A motorist driving a blue Honda Accord tried to help the man, later identified by police as Douglas. Douglas allegedly forced his way into the car and sped off west on the Reagan Tollway.
Police say Douglas displayed a handgun during at least one of the carjackings. Douglas may also be linked to robberies in Oak Lawn and Burbank that occurred on Saturday, authorities have said.
The woman who stopped in the Accord told the Tribune she had "sleepless nights" since Saturday. The woman, who lives in west suburban Geneva and did not want to be identified, said she was grateful that Geneva police officers watched over her house for the last few days.
"It's been quite an experience," she said, adding that she has changed the locks at her home since Saturday.
Court documents indicate Douglas has a long criminal record that includes convictions for burglary, forgery and theft. He was recently in custody in Lake County.
Lake County prosecutors in September charged Douglas with misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicles after he was arrested by sheriff's officers, according to court records. He was released on his own recognizance, court records show.
Then on Oct. 4, he was charged in Lake County with being a fugitive from justice who fled to Illinois to avoid Wisconsin authorities, according to court records. Douglas had pleaded guilty to burglary in 2007 in Kenosha County, Wis., and was sentenced to 7½ years of probation, court records show.
He waived his right to official extradition proceedings. Lake County prosecutors dropped the fugitive from justice charge based on the understanding that he had been passed into the custody of Wisconsin authorities, Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim said.
Wisconsin corrections officials were unable to provide information Monday, and Kenosha County authorities could not be reached.
On Friday, Lake County prosecutors charged Douglas with fleeing from Zion police in a stolen 2010 Nissan Altima on Dec. 12 after officers tried to pull him over, according to court records. An arrest warrant was issued and he was charged with two counts of residential burglary in connection with two alleged Zion home burglaries, unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle and aggravated fleeing from police.
On Dec. 13, prosecutors charged him with using force to steal a woman's purse in Gurnee. He was charged with robbery and theft, and an arrest warrant was issued.
In Cook County, Douglas has several theft-related arrests, including for identity theft, records show.
Most recently he was convicted in 2012 of felony theft and sentenced to boot camp, records show.
Donovan Turnage's brother, speaking after a vigil held for the 11-year-old Monday afternoon at Donovan's South Side school, said he understands that police were doing their job when the crash occurred.
"They're doing as much as they can," Derrick said. "I'm not going to blame anybody but the guy that hit us. I'm not going to blame the police. I hope they find him. I think they're doing their job."
Tribune reporters Lisa Black and Annie Sweeney contributed.