Newly obtained bodycam video shows 31-year-old Makell Meyerin walking down Route 41 armed with a military-style rifle and then being fatally shot by Gurnee police in 2018.
Lake and McHenry County Scanner obtained several bodycam videos from officers at the scene through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which was approved on Wednesday.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has since cleared Gurnee Police Officer Benjamin Bozer and Detective Sgt. Jon Ward, who both shot Meyerin, who was an Antioch resident, on May 23, 2018.
“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, 2018 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.
In the video, officers can be heard asking Meyerin to remain calm and drop the gun but she ignores their commands.
“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.
Police 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.
Editors note: Lake and McHenry County Scanner will be releasing additional bodycam videos that we received from the FOIA request soon.