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‘I ain’t going without a fight,’ murder suspect said before fatal shootout with police in Beach Park

Heavy police activity was seen near Green Bay Road and Beach Road in Beach Park after an officer-involved shooting on June 16, 2020. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner.

Two members of a U.S. Marshals task force have been cleared in the fatal shooting of a murder suspect in Beach Park in June, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said that a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy and a Lake County sheriff’s deputy, who were both assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service-Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, acted reasonably and appropriately.

The task force was searching for Brandon Gardner, 24, of Beach Park, who was wanted for the first-degree murder of an 18-year-old man in Zion in 2018.

Officers with the USMS-GLRFTF and Zion Police Department located Gardner sitting in a Chevy Traverse in the driveway of a home in the 38000 block of Green Bay Road in Beach Park on June 16.

When two officers from the warrants team approached the car, Gardner opened a passenger door of the vehicle, swung his legs out and pointed a handgun towards the approaching officers.

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He then fired multiple rounds in their direction.

Heavy police activity was seen near Green Bay Road and Beach Road in Beach Park after an officer-involved shooting on June 16, 2020. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner.

Officers returned fire, striking Gardner in the body twice. They began CPR on him and paramedics transported him to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan where he was pronounced dead.

The officers were approximately 7-10 steps away from Gardner when he fired his gun at them. Nerheim said that the attack was unprovoked, violent and had “only one objective: to kill police officers.”

Officers recovered a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol in Gardner’s possession.

Nerheim also said that Gardner had previously messaged friends and said, “They catch me it’s gon be a bang out” and “Bitch I’m like B I ain’t going without a fight.”

“The members who serve on this task force deal with some of the most treacherous situations a police officer can ever face and apprehend the most dangerous of offenders,” Nerheim said.

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“It was the quick reaction and training of these officers – along with a good bit of luck – that prevented this tragic situation from becoming even worse,” he added.