A Waukegan police officer shot two people Tuesday night — fatally wounding one of them — after the car they were in allegedly reversed toward the officer in the north suburb.
The person who died was a “male Black in his late teens from Waukegan,” police said in a statement. His name hasn’t been released.
The incident began shortly before midnight when an officer began to investigate a vehicle near Liberty Street and Oak Street, police said. The car then drove off from the officer.
Moments later, another officer spotted the car near Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and South Avenue, police said. As that officer approached on foot, the car reversed and the officer, a Hispanic man, fired his pistol out of “fear for his safety,” police said.
The driver, a Waukegan woman in her 20s, and the teenage passenger were both hit by gunfire, police said. The woman was hospitalized in serious condition and is expected to recover. The passenger died at a hospital.
No weapon was found in the vehicle, police said. Both officers involved each have five years of experience with the department.
Body camera and squad car video was turned over to the Illinois State Police, who are investigating the incident, Waukegan police Commander Edgar Navarro said in an email. State police will then present its findings to the Lake County state’s attorney’s office.
In a statement released Wednesday, Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said that it may be several weeks before Illinois State Police finish their investigation, and that only then will his office be able to review their findings.
“Once I have had the opportunity to review the entire investigation, I will make a determination regarding whether the officers violated any laws. Should it be determined the officers violated a law, they will be criminally charged,” Nerheim said. “If laws were not broken, I will write up a detailed statement that will completely review the facts, show the evidence, explain applicable laws, and give our reasoning for the final decision.”
A 4 p.m. news conference outside the Waukegan Police Department ended after protestors demanded to know why the officer fired into the vehicle, with one man saying “my nephew is dead in the street,” according to a Daily Herald report.
The Lake County coroner’s office has not yet released details on the fatality, but an autopsy has been scheduled for later Wednesday.