2 juveniles charged as adults in murder of Waukegan volleyball coach and counselor

Two teens have been charged as adults in the fatal shooting of a Waukegan volleyball coach and counselor last month.

The two juveniles, 16 and 17 years old, face three counts of first-degree murder.

Each teen was ordered held on a $5 million bond Friday by a Lake County judge.

At about 10:36 p.m. on May 6, Waukegan police officers responded to the area of 10th Street and Lewis Avenue for reports of shots fired.

When officers arrived, they discovered two vehicles hit by gunfire.

One of the vehicles was occupied by a male subject, but he was not struck by gunfire.

The second vehicle was occupied by 23-year-old Niolis Collazo, and she was struck by gunfire.

She was transported to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Collazo was a counselor for the Waukegan School District and a freshman Volleyball coach. 

"She was my role model," said Mia Carani, Collazo’s sister. "Everything. I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world."

Carani was on the phone with her sister when the shooting happened.


Carani was headed home from her senior prom when her sister called to ask about some house keys.

"And I heard a loud shattering noise and her screaming, ‘ow ow ow,’" Carani recounted. "I said, ‘what’s going on? What’s wrong?’ She said ‘I got to call someone.’ And I never got a response back."

The struck vehicles were traveling in different directions and were unrelated to each other, police said.

While investigating, authorities determined that two juveniles were suspects in this case.

On Thursday, the Waukegan Police Department executed two search warrants at the same time at two locations in Waukegan and the suspects were taken into custody.

At one location, detectives located two handguns. At the second location, detectives found four handguns — one had a fully automatic switch attached to the gun. A second fully automatic switch was found but was not attached to a firearm.

One of the four guns was reported stolen out of Florida, police said.