Isaac Goodlow shooting: Carol Stream police officers won't face charges, prosecutors say

The Carol Stream police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Isaac Goodlow in February 2024 will not face charges. 

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin announced the decision not to pursue criminal charges on Wednesday, after a nearly four-month-long investigation. 

"Every case involving the use of deadly force by a police officer, whether on or off duty, must be carefully and thoroughly investigated. Such scrutiny is required to ensure the protection of the civil rights of those involved and to maintain the public’s confidence in law enforcement," Berlin said. 

Carol Stream Police Officer Daniel Pfingston fatally shot Goodlow in the early hours of Feb. 3. Officers were called to the Villagebrook Apartments located at 260 E. Saint Charles Road at 4:16 a.m. after Goodlow allegedly got into an argument that turned physical with his girlfriend.

Prosecutors said the victim's sister called 911 saying, "I have an emergency. This boy just jumped on my sister."

When asked what happened, the caller said, "He jumped on her. She came to our house screaming and crying. Her eye is black and her lip is busted."

Officer Pfingston arrived on scene and was later joined by Officers Janetis, McGovern, Marquardt, Koeller, Sergeant Cadle and other officers. They first spoke with the victim who told them she and Isaac got into an argument in their shared apartment. The victim had a black eye and a cut on her lip was bleeding. 

The victim said she'd been living in the apartment with Goodlow for the past three months. She gave officers permission to get a key and told them she was concerned about her dog and her phone was still inside. 

According to prosecutors, the victim said that during the fight with Goodlow she ran into the bathroom, but he "busted the door down," causing the mirror on the door to shatter, and threw her in the bathtub.

She ran to her mother's apartment wearing only her underwear, leaving her phone, shoes, and keys behind. As she fled, the victim told Goodlow she was going to call the police. 

Goodlow responded, "I don’t give a f*** b****. Call the police. Call whoever the f*** you want. They’re gonna have to kill me or I’ll kill myself." He also allegedly said, "If you call the police on me, I’m gonna make them kill me."

Officers knocked on Goodlow's apartment door from 4:18 to 5:10 a.m. without entering, according to prosecutors. They also attempted to call him with a phone number provided by the victim. 

Without any response, officers asked for the victim's permission to go inside. She asked them to go in to get her dog and cell phone. 

Officer Pfingston was first to enter, followed in order by Officer Janetis, Officer McGovern, Officer Marquardt, Sergeant Cadle, and Officer Koeller. Prosecutors said they loudly announced their presence. 

A frame-by-frame viewing of Sergeant Cadle’s body-worn camera video shows what appears to be Goodlow’s knee or thigh coming out of the bedroom door just as it is opening. 

As the door opened, Goodlow took a sudden and quick step from behind the door and immediately stepped towards Officer Pfingston with his right arm bent and his right hand about shoulder height moving toward Officer Pfingston "in an aggressive manner." 

Believing Goodlow was either pointing something at him, throwing something at him or reaching for his firearm, Officer Pfingston fired a single gunshot at Goodlow, striking him in the chest, prosecutors said.

The doctor who performed Goodlow's autopsy said his wound was consistent with Officer Pfingston’s statement that Goodlow was moving his arm toward the officer. 

The video showed that Goodlow was not lying in his bed when he was shot as his family had said. The officers immediately handcuffed Goodlow and started life-saving measures. 

Sergeant Cadle told Goodlow, "I need you to stay with me" and "open your eyes" as he was administering chest compressions. 

In addition to Goodlow’s suicidal statements to the victim, he had made statements of feeling homicidal and suicidal to the Wheaton Police Department following a prior arrest for domestic battery in January 2021.

Goodlow’s family publicly stated the videos investigators showed them showed him lying in bed when he was shot and that the videos had been altered before public release. 

At the request of Goodlow’s family, Motorola Solutions, Inc. conducted an audit of the body-worn camera video files. Following the audit, a Senior Manager of Mobile Video Security and Analytics and Motorola employee returned a hash code analysis report verifying the body-worn camera files had not been altered or modified in any way.

"Mr. Goodlow's death is a tragedy that has caused a great amount of pain to his family and in our community. The Village acknowledges that pain and sympathizes with everyone affected by this incident," the Village of Carol Stream said in a statement Wednesday.

The Village said that as of May 2, probationary police officer Dan Pfingston was no longer an employee.

The attorney representing Goodlow's family, Andrew M. Stroth, spoke about the outcome Wednesday. 

"We disagree wholeheartedly with this decision. If you watch the video, what you see is in less than a second, an unarmed, 30-year-old black man, Isaac Goodlow, this family's son and brother, was killed by this officer," Stroth said. 

Berlin said in his statement that the decision is not a conclusion that the officer was justified in using deadly force, but rather, that the state cannot meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not legally justified in doing so.