CHICAGO — A Black teen from suburban Waukegan was shot and killed by police Tuesday after an officer opened fired when a vehicle began moving in reverse as the officer approached, Waukegan police announced Wednesday.
No firearm was found in the vehicle, police said. Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting.
A Waukegan patrol officer was investigating a vehicle near Liberty and Oak streets at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday when the vehicle fled, according to police. Another officer saw the vehicle, occupied by a man and woman, and began to approach it near Martin Luther King Jr. and South avenues, according to the release.
“While officer #2 was out of his vehicle, and approaching the suspect vehicle, it began to reverse. Officer #2 fired his semi-automatic pistol, in fear for his safety,” police said in the release.
According to the release, the officer who fired his gun is Hispanic, and the other officer is white.
Both the driver and passenger were struck by gunfire. The driver, a Black woman in her 20s from Waukegan, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries and is expected to recover, police said. The male passenger was taken to an area hospital and died. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday. His identity has not yet been formally released.
Family members of the woman, including her parents, gathered outside Waukegan police headquarters Wednesday afternoon. They identified her as Tafara Williams. The man who died, they said, was Marcellus Stinette.
Williams and Stinette were a couple and are the parents of a child, the family members said.
Williams’ mother, Tina Johnson, said her daughter told her at the hospital that she and Stinette had not done anything to provoke the shooting.
“When I got there, she said, ‘Mama, they just shot us for nothing,'” Johnson said. “She basically said that she plead with the police for her life.”
(Most read) As Illinois reports 69 COVID-19-related deaths, the highest daily toll since June, state issues plan for vaccine distribution »
Johnson said that her daughter, as she was being wheeled into surgery, asked about Stinette. Johnson said she didn’t have the heart to tell her that Stinette was dead.
The family members said the site of the shooting was outside Williams’ residence, and that Williams and Stinette were just sitting in the car when police arrived.
“It really does not make any sense,” Williams uncle, Ricky Carly, said. “Our kids can’t even come outside.”
In a news conference, Mayor Sam Cunningham appeared shaken and as he acknowledged that police shootings of Black residents can rip communities apart, and that it can take years to rebuild. He asked citizens to wait until all the facts are known.
“We’re going to rebuild in this situation based on the facts,” said Cunningham, who is Black. “We’re in this together.”
Clyde McLemore, the Lake County chapter president of Black Lives Matters, said a march is planned for Thursday. He appealed for calm.
“We’re not here to rip up our own town,” he said.
When state police have concluded their investigation, the findings will be presented to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Officefor review, the release said.
State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim cautioned Tuesday that these kinds of investigations can take a long time. But Nerheim added that if the investigation shows laws were broken, his office will bring charges.
(c)2020 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.