Man Taking Photos of Zion Schools Shot Dead by Police

A suspicious man taking photographs of schools in north suburban Zion died after being shot by the police.

Lake County sheriff's Det. Chris Covelli said officers were dispatched to the area of 22nd Street and Bethesda Boulevard over the suspicious man.

Officers chased the man, who police said appeared to be wearing body armor, and a physical struggle ensued before the officer opened fire.

The man, later identified as 38-year-old Charles J. Hollstein of Zion, was transported to Vista East Hospital following the shooting, but was later pronounced dead, Covelli said.

Police found “homemade metal inserts” in the suspect’s jacket, Covelli said. Police also collected from the scene what they initially believed was a firearm, however upon further inspection it was determined to be most likely an airsoft gun.

Just before 9 a.m. Zion police called the school district and put all schools in the area on a soft lockdown, according to school officials.

“We couldn't go to the bathroom,” eighth grader Yasmine Winston said. “ We had to just sit there. I was like really scared, thinking ‘should I text my mom? Should I call my mom?’”

"I was really scared," fourth grader Delilah Arellano said. "[The principal] went on intercom and went on soft lockdown today and she said nobody could go outside for second lunch period. She said if we all went outside then the person might have come to our school."

"It was very horrifying, I was so scared I was terrified," her mother Sylvia Arellano said. "We received a text message fired via the school system, then we received a rcorded message through the Zion Police Department."

One parent named Ariel said she was unable to pick up her son from kindergarten for most of the day.

“I live in fear for my child,” parent Ariel said. “This world has changed a lot, dramatically. I've lived in Zion my whole life and this is only the second time I've seen this.”

“It's pretty scary. I'm unnerved,” Ariel added. “ I usually work from home and I can't work because I'm scared. I don't know what's going on.”

The investigation is ongoing and no other suspect are in custody over the incident, Covelli said. A search warrant is also being executed at the man’s residence. 

The two officers who were involved in the incident are on paid administrative leave.

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