Waukegan police officer fired after fatal shooting of teen

The Waukegan police officer involved in the fatal shooting of a teen in the northern suburb has been fired, the city’s police chief announced Friday.

The officer was fired for “multiple policy and procedure violations” during the incident, Waukegan police said. Further details on the decision were not provided.

Illinois State Police are conducting an independent investigation of the killing of 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette, who was shot by the Waukegan officer in the northern suburb. The FBI is now assisting state police in the investigation.

In a statement, Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said he contacted the U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday, and the department agreed to review the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

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“I am confident in the work being done by the Illinois State Police and welcome the assistance of the FBI,” Nerheim said.

The incident began shortly before midnight Tuesday when an officer went to investigate a vehicle near Liberty and Oak streets, Waukegan police said in a statement. The car drove off from the officer but was found moments later by another officer. As that officer walked up to the car, the car reversed and the officer fired his pistol out of “fear for his safety,” police said.

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Stinnette, a 19-year-old Black man, and his girlfriend Tafara Williams, who was driving the car, were both shot. Stinnette died from his gunshot wound at Vista Medical Center East, according to Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper. Williams survived and underwent surgery Thursday, according to her family.

The officer is Hispanic and has five years on the force, police said. Body camera and squad car footage of the incident is being reviewed by investigators.

“As I have said before, once the investigation is concluded, all the evidence will be reviewed and a final decision will be made with respect to any potential charges,” Nerheim said.