The 15-year-old boy who was wrongly charged with shooting a Dollar General employee in Waukegan said police offered him McDonald’s in exchange for a confession.
Martell Williams, 15, was arrested on Wednesday and wrongly charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in connection to a shooting at Dollar General, 2613 Grand Avenue in Waukegan, on February 4.
Police said that tips from the public led directly to the arrest.
He was transported to the Robert W. Depke Juvenile Complex Center in Vernon Hills.
On Friday, detectives verified Williams’ whereabouts on the night of the shooting, Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Joe Florip said.
Florip said the police department immediately eliminated the teen as a suspect in the case and he was released from custody Friday morning and cleared of all charges.
Williams, who is a Waukegan High School freshman and basketball player, was attending an away game at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, ABC7 Chicago and CBS Chicago reported.
During school, a dean took Williams to the office where he was met by two police officers.
“And once I reached their office, it was just two police officers and as soon as I got in they didn’t tell me nothing or say nothing to me. They just said, ‘you’re under arrest,'” Williams said.
A screenshot from Snapchat confirmed Williams was attending the basketball game at the time of the shooting.
“The officer said that multiple people came to him saying that it was me,” Williams said.
Williams said police kept asking him the same question and offered him McDonald’s in exchange for a confession, CBS Chicago reported.
“It is true he bribed me with McDonald’s, and he kept trying to get a confession,” Williams said.
“He didn’t even know a shooting was involved. He just said, ‘Hey, it wasn’t your fault. You were defending yourself, you know. Just go ahead and say you were there and we’ll let you go home,'” Kevin O’Connor, Williams’ attorney, said.
O’Connor said Williams’ record was expunged but is asking for a public apology from authorities, ABC7 reported.
In a statement Monday, the Waukegan Police Department said the city is reviewing the case but cannot provide further public comment yet.
“The City has been in contact with the juvenile’s family and their attorney. The City will continue to communicate with and provide information to the family’s attorney as it gathers the facts and circumstances that led to this situation,” the police department said.
Police are still searching for the suspect in the case, who is wanted in connection with the shooting.
The father of the victim told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that his 19-year-old son was working as an employee at the store when the shooting happened.
He said that his son noticed a person shoplifting in the store and asked the person to leave.
“Things escalated. The guy went outside and pulled a gun and shot,” said the victim’s father, who did not want to be publicly identified.
The victim, who is a Waukegan resident, was shot in the face near his eye while trying to shut the store’s front door.
Paramedics transported the man to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for treatment of severe facial injuries. He was later transferred to another hospital for surgery.
The 19-year-old has since been released from the hospital. “[He’s] doing pretty well for being shot in the head,” the victim’s father said earlier this month.
The man’s sister, Crystal Padilla, said her brother will need more surgeries for his eye moving forward.
“Elvis is a very to himself, quiet person who doesn’t bother anyone. He was simply and unfortunately presented with a person with no humanity or compassion,” Padilla said.
“My mom and all of his loved ones are doing the best we can with the support he needs and we ask for whatever help anyone would like to contribute for any accommodations he will need from now on with medical expenses, therapy, at home care, etc.,” Padilla said in a GoFundMe post.
The GoFundMe account has raised $10,000 as of Monday evening.
“God saved his life and we are now here to help him live the best version of it he can,” Padilla said.