Man shot to death by Zion police was carrying replica gun

ZION (FOX 32 / STMW) - A white male shot and killed by police Wednesday morning near a school in far north suburban Zion was wearing a “tactical” vest and carrying a replica firearm, according to police.

Zion police responded to a 911 call about a suspicious person taking photographs outside Lakeview Elementary School at 22nd Street and Bethesda Boulevard about 8 a.m., according to a statement from the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

An officer began chasing the suspect, who appeared to be wearing body armor, police said. A struggle ensued between the suspect and officers, and the suspect was shot.

"The individual did actively engage in a fight with the police. It became a physical altercation between the police and this individual," said Lake County Sheriff’s Det. Christopher Covelli.

Covelli said the man was wearing a “tactical vest” with “homemade” metal reinforcement. He was carrying what “appeared to be a handgun” but was “probably an Airsoft gun.”

"It was determined that this bulletproof vest that the individual was wearing was homemade. it was a tactical vest cover with homemade metal plates inserted inside of the vest itself," Covelli said.

The suspect was taken to Vista East Hospital in Waukegan and pronounced dead, according to the statement. 

The Lake County Sheriff's Office on Thursday identified the man as 38-year-old Charles J. Hollstein of Zion. 

"I wasn't home when it started, but my next door neighbor called me when I did get home and told me that she heard three shots," said Zion resident Murvin Elrod.

Investigators won't say how many shots were fired.

The community is safe and there are no other suspects at-large, according to Zion Police Chief Steve Dumyahn.

The last police-involved shooting in Zion was April 4, 2015, when 17-year-old Justus Howell of Waukegan was shot twice in the back while fleeing officers about 2 p.m.

The shooting sparked marches and protests in the community after Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd ruled the death a homicide. However, in May of that year, Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim ruled the shooting justified.

Zion police requested the Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigate the latest shooting.

Six elementary schools and a middle school in Zion were on lockdown after the shooting, but the lockdowns were lifted about 1:15 p.m. All schools in Beach Park School District 3 were also placed on lockdown, but that was lifted before noon, according to the district website.

School operations returned to normal Thursday. 

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