A Grayslake woman was charged after she pushed a Lake and McHenry County Scanner photojournalist to the ground and punched him while he was covering a townhouse fire in Volo on Wednesday.
Emilia B. Demers, 22, of the 300 block of Alta Street in Grayslake, was charged with one count of battery, a Class A misdemeanor.
The Fox Lake Fire Protection District and Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded around 7:08 p.m. Wednesday to the 100 block of Terra Vista Court in Volo for a report of a structure fire.
Firefighters and sheriff’s deputies arrived to find significant flames and smoke coming from the garage of a townhouse, according to Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli.
A preliminary investigation shows that the residents of the home are fire performers and were rehearsing in their garage, Covelli said.
An accident happened during the practice session and the fire tools used by the performer were dropped. Nearby accelerants that were stored in the area also caught fire.
Woo-Sung Shim, who is a freelance photographer for Lake and McHenry County Scanner, was filming and taking photographs of the scene.
Shim was berated by several bystanders nearby after the fire was extinguished. The audio of the exchange was captured in the background of a video taken by Shim.
“Go f–k yourself. Stop recording! Go f–k yourself. I hope your house burns down,” a woman can be heard screaming in the background of the video.
“I’ll kill you! F–king kill him!” the woman yells.
Shim said that he tried to ignore the woman and continue doing his job. The woman then approached Shim.
“I assumed she [Demers] was going to ask me to stop recording the scene. Instead, with no warning, she started pushing, punching, and hitting me. I went to the ground and she continued to hit me.”
Witnesses and sheriff’s deputies immediately intervened and separated the two from each other. Shim said that he was not injured during the incident.
Demers is scheduled to appear in Lake County courtroom C-401 on September 10.