Charges upgraded against armed Harvard man accused of threatening officers

Man faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted

Juan J. Castro

A Harvard man accused of striking officers while armed with an “AR-15 style rifle” now faces nine counts of armed violence, Class X felonies that if convicted of, can carry decades in prison, McHenry County court records show.

Juan J. Castro, 27, of the 1700 block of Wildflower Lane, is set to be arraigned Friday on the charges, handed down March 23 by a McHenry County grand jury.

He was also charged with two counts of aggravated battery to a police officer, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, resisting a police officer resulting in injury, aggravated assault of a police officer, possession of an unserialized firearm, domestic battery, and resisting a police officer, according to the indictment.

Harvard police responded at 10:08 a.m. March 4 to the 1700 block of Wildflower Lane for a domestic disturbance where they found a woman in her 50s who had been punched in the back by a family member, injuring her, according to a news release at the time of his arrest.

At approximately 1110 hrs, Castro went to reach inside a briefcase he had been holding, officers tackled him to the ground, and he was taken into custody after another brief physical altercation. Officers subsequently discovered a modified loaded handgun inside the briefcase.

—  Harvard Police Department news release

Police found Castro a few minutes later walking near the intersection of Forest Downs and Autumn Glen Drive, according to the release.

Officers confronted Castro and a “brief physical altercation ensued,” leading the officers to back off and request back-up, according to the release. Deputies from the McHenry County and Walworth County sheriff’s offices responded.

About 11:10 a.m., Castro “went to reach inside a briefcase he had been holding” and officers tackled him to the ground, according to the release. He was arrested following “another brief physical altercation” and officers subsequently found a modified loaded handgun inside the briefcase, according to the release.

The indictment describes the firearm being in a bag Castro was holding. He is accused of verbally threatening the officers, striking one in the face with his fist and another in the chest with his fist, according to the indictment. One of the officers received a hand injury during the incident.

Castro was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection with a 2017 case in Winnebago County, according to the indictment.

Castro is being held in the McHenry County jail on $250,000 bond of which he must post $25,000 to be released.