The state’s attorney has cleared the sheriff’s deputy that shot and killed a man, who was wearing body armor and shot his wife in Port Barrington in January.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office released its final report on the case Wednesday.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office was called around 1:22 a.m. on January 11 to the 200 block of Manchester Lane in Port Barrington, which is on the border of Lake County and McHenry County.
Deputies responded to the call, which was for a report of domestic violence.
Deputies Travis Bodway and Nicholas Arnold arrived on the scene and observed Nicholas D. Sebastian, 43, of Port Barrington, close the garage door of the home and move back into the residence.
Arnold told a sheriff’s lieutenant that he began moving toward the front door where he saw Sebastian close the front door and walk back toward the garage.
Arnold said that someone began “messing with the garage” door, which began going up and down.
Arnold said that at some point while the garage was moving up, he heard a gunshot and Sebastian’s wife, Antionette Mecca, 41, began to cry out that she had been shot.
Arnold told the lieutenant that he observed Sebastian move forward from the back of the garage toward him with a gun raised looking as though “he is going to engage.”
Arnold fired his service weapon until the gun magazine was empty.
Sebastian fell to the ground and Arnold reloaded his firearm, dropping the empty gun magazine.
Mecca was transported to the hospital with a single gunshot wound to her right leg.
She told investigators she was awoken that night by Sebastian who was “charging around the house and acting erratic.”
Mecca said that her husband, who was an alcoholic, also woke up her two children.
Sebastian had been drinking excessively that evening and was “on something” when he came into her bedroom and took her phone.
Mecca told investigators that her husband found a meme on her phone with the caption, “You can’t love someone enough to make them sober.”
Sebastian threw her phone into a sink filled with water but she was able to retrieve it and call 911.
Mecca said she went to the garage when the police arrived so she could escape from Sebastian.
She told investigators that when she started heading into the garage, she heard her husband say, “We’re all going to die.”
At that point, Sebastian shot her and the deputies engaged in a shootout with him.
No deputies were injured. Sebastian was pronounced dead at the scene.
The McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team (MIAT) was called to investigate the case.
The state’s attorney’s office said 28 shell casings were found at the scene, including 16 of which were fired by Arnold and 12 which were fired by Sebastian.
Sebastian was wearing body armor at the time of the shootout and had alcohol, cocaine, opioids and benzodiazepines in his system, the state’s attorney’s office said in their report.
Deputies Arnold and Bodway, who did not have body cameras, both refused to be interviewed by MIAT investigators on the advice of legal counsel.
The state’s attorney’s office said that Arnold’s blood test found he had 1, 1-difluoroethane (DFE), which is an inhalant, present in him.
DFE is a colorless and odorless gas that is used as a propellant in consumer products like keyboard cleaners. It may also be found as a refrigerant and chemical intermediate.
The state’s attorney’s office said DFE has been recognized as a substance of abuse and could be detected in a person’s blood for up to 18 hours after inhalation.
Toxicologists with the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory and NMS Labs said that the presence of DFE in Arnold’s blood was consistent with “intentional use.”
The state’s attorney’s office said that although Arnold was justified in the shooting, they are “gravely concerned” that he may have used an intoxicant prior to his shift or on duty.
“This matter is subject to an ongoing investigation. The lab result alone, however, is insufficient to change our opinion as to the lawfulness of the shooting. In view of the short-lived effects of DFE and lack of any observed outward signs of impairment, there is no evidence that Deputy Arnold was under the influence at the time of the shooting,” the state’s attorney’s office said.
“Moreover, Nicholas Sebastian’s deadly intent and conduct has been established independent of any account given by Deputy Arnold and arose independent of Deputy Arnold’s actions.”