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Protest planned, state’s attorney urges calm after Waukegan police officer shoots 2 people, 1 fatally

Marcellis Stinnette, 19, of Waukegan. | Family provided photo.

A protest is planned after a Waukegan police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old man and injured his girlfriend, who police say reversed a car in the direction of the officer.

An autopsy showed Marcellis Stinnette, 19, of Waukegan, died as a result of a gunshot wound, according to Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper.

Stinnette and his girlfriend, Tafarra Williams, were both sitting in a car near Liberty Street and Oak Street in Waukegan around 11:55 p.m. Tuesday.

Williams, who police identified as a woman in her 20s from Waukegan, was in the driver seat and Stinnette was in the passenger seat.

Waukegan Police Department Cmdr. Edgar Navarro said that the vehicle fled from an officer who was attempting to investigate the occupied vehicle.

Moments later, a second police officer spotted the vehicle near Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and South Avenue in Waukegan.

The officer approached the vehicle and it began to reverse, Navarro said, adding that the officer then fired his pistol in fear of his safety.

Williams and Stinnette both suffered gunshot wounds. Stinnette was transported by ambulance to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan where he was pronounced dead.

Williams was transported by ambulance to an area hospital in serious condition. She is expected to recover.

“I don’t know why they did this to my baby, I don’t understand it. I’m not going to get it. But lord knows they need to stop being trigger happy,” Clifftina Johnson, Williams’ mother told reporters on Wednesday.

Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles requested the Illinois State Police to investigate the shooting, Navarro said.

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No guns were found in Williams’ vehicle and Waukegan police officers are equipped with both body cameras and squad car dash cameras.

Both officers involved each have five years of experience with the Waukegan Police Department.

A protest march has been planned for Thursday at noon led by the family and Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter.

It will begin at the intersection where the shooting occurred and end at the Waukegan Police Department.

Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said that his office does not receive any information about the investigation until it is completed, which can take several weeks.

“Once I have had the opportunity to review the entire investigation, I will make a determination regarding whether the officers violated any laws. Should it be determined the officers violated a law, they will be criminally charged,” Nerheim said.

“If laws were not broken, I will write up a detailed statement that will completely review the facts, show the evidence, explain applicable laws, and give our reasoning for the final decision,” he added.

“I am certainly aware these situations are potentially volatile and elicit many emotions. I strongly urge and hope for continued calm and patience as the investigation takes place. Finally, our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of the person that was killed and our prayers for a speedy recovery go out to the person injured in this unfortunate situation,” Nerheim said.


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