Ottawa man pleads not guilty to drive-by shooting charge

Brito will not go for sentencing in a drug charge, instead he will go to court again Nov. 17

Anthony Brito is escorted into the courtroom on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the La Salle County Governmental Complex in Ottawa.

An Ottawa man pleaded not guilty Friday to allegations that he tried to kill a witness in a felony drug case.

Anthony R. Brito Jr., 30, appeared Friday in La Salle County Circuit Court and pleaded not guilty to four felony charges led by attempted first-degree murder. The Class X felony carries an extended sentence of 26 to 50 years with no possibility of probation because Brito is alleged to have used a firearm.

Brito is accused of firing multiple gunshots Sept. 12 at La Salle and Main streets in Ottawa. No one was injured. During a previous court hearing, prosecutors said a car was struck with gunfire while a passenger was in the car, and there were nearby pedestrians and motorists. Five shell casings were found at the scene, prosecutors previously said.

Brito was arrested Sept. 13 after an armed standoff in the 1500 block of Scott Street in Ottawa. He was jailed on the preliminary charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm. Prosecutors said they later added the attempted murder charge after learning the targeted driver was a witness against Brito in a felony drug case.

Brito pleaded guilty to delivering cocaine, but La Salle County State’s Attorney Joe Navarro said Friday that Brito will not go for sentencing Oct. 27 as scheduled because the plea was withdrawn after Brito violated the terms of his bond.

Brito’s next appearance in court is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 17.