The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has cleared two Gurnee police officers who fatally shot a woman armed with a military-style rifle on Route 41 in late May.
Gurnee Police Department Officer Benjamin Bozer and Detective Sgt. Jon Ward both shot Makell Meyerin, 31, of Antioch, on May 23, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office said.
“Based upon the facts gathered in this investigation and a review of the applicable Illinois Statutes, Sgt. Ward and Officer Bozer acted reasonably and appropriately,” Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said.
Gurnee police were called to a suspicious vehicle at 1:20 p.m. on May 23 near Harper Avenue and Gould Avenue for a report of a Toyota Prius with a bullet hole in it.
Police officers found the vehicle, which was occupied by Jordan J. Huff, 37, of Antioch, and Meyerin, both unconscious from drug overdoses. Officer Bozer knocked on the window and Meyerin awoke but then fled the scene.
“Ms. Meyerin had no interest in cooperating with the officer or abiding by his requests. Her sole interest, in contrast, was to flee the police,” Nerheim said.
She sped away from the officer and drove “erratically” to get away. She crashed her car at Chittenden Park and then “armed herself with a military-style rifle” before running out onto Route 41 where there was heavy traffic.
Officers asked her to remain calm and drop the gun but she ignored their commands, the state’s attorney’s office said.
“They referred to her by the names “honey” and “sweetie” in order to present words designed to soothe, pacify, and calm Ms. Meyerin. The officers displayed impressive restraint and incredible reserve in dealing with this armed individual,” Nerheim said.
Officials said that Meyerin told officers “just shoot me” multiple times during the standoff. Sgt. Ward and Officer Bozer both shot the woman after she pointed the gun, a Beretta Cx5 Storm tactical carbine rifle, at officers and put her finger on the trigger.
Officials said that Meyerin was pronounced dead at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Huff, Meyerin’s passenger in the car who had overdosed, was transported to an area hospital where he was treated and released. No officers or bystanders were injured.
An autopsy performed on Meyerin showed she died from multiple gunshot wounds, Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said.
Toxicology results on Meyerin showed that she had tested positive for opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, clonazepam, fentanyl, moriphine, naloxone and numerous other substances.
“I would like to acknowledge the professionalism exhibited by Sgt. Ward, Officer Bozer and all of the officers of the Gurnee Police Department during these trying circumstances,” Nerheim said.