LAKE COUNTY, Ill. – Six teens committed a felony auto theft in a high end North Shore community in the Chicago area. Then in another bad decision, they drove further north into Lake County in an attempt to steal another car.
A 14-year-old boy would be dead by the end of their crime spree.
Lake County Sheriffs Detectives found that the six teenagers — ranging in age from 14 to 18 — traveled to Old Mill Creek in northern Lake County in a Lexus they had stolen, to commit a burglary.
Deputies responded to a 911 call in the 17600 block of West Edwards Road in Old Mill Creek. The caller told dispatchers he shot at the defendants before they fled, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The homeowner told investigators he heard noises outside his home. Exiting the house, he confronted several individuals and shouted at them. One of the boys allegedly approached him with something in his hand, so the man opened fire, striking him in the head. A knife was recovered from the driveway of the shooting scene.
The suspects fled the area in the stolen car. The wounded teen was dropped off with another one of the offenders at an accident scene that officers from a nearby jurisdiction were handling. The 14-year-old was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital.
The incident culminated in a high-speed chase between the remaining defendants and police from Lake County to Chicago, where the teens were apprehended when the car they were driving ran out of gas and they bailed out of the car, ultimately being taken into custody.
This unfortunate incident is now being turned into political fodder. Election season has begun, or as we refer to it in Lake County, the “silly season”.
The current state attorney has charged all the offenders with first degree murder. His opponent in the upcoming election immediately jumped on the bandwagon and criticized the charges.
“The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office should have waited until the investigation was completed and all of the facts came in before making the decision to charge the teenagers with felony murder.”
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In Illinois, prosecutors are allowed to charge accomplices in certain felonies with murder if anyone dies during the commission of the crime.
Whether the first degree murder charges will stick with all offenders remains unclear at this point.
We do know by some of the information released by investigators, that six individuals under the cover of darkness, on private property, in a stolen vehicle, armed with a knife, confronted a 75-yea-old man during the commission of a forcible felony. To the best of my knowledge, none of these offenders were forced, threatened or abducted. We can reasonably believe they were aware of the fact they were in the process of committing a serious crime. Their combined actions tragically led to the death of one of their own.
Five Chicago teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder after a member of their group was fatally shot by a homeowner while they allegedly tried to break into a vehicle. https://t.co/t5STDAxfbD
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) August 14, 2019
The gentleman making this crime into a political issue is a life-long defense attorney and public defender. To my knowledge, he has never been a law enforcement official or prosecutor.
“While it is important that the police work fast to protect our communities (and I commend their work in this case), the state’s attorney’s office does not face the same time pressure,”.
I believe this statement is slightly contradictory. The police whose votes and support I need did the right thing and arrested the offenders for murder getting them off the street. The States Attorney, whose job I want shouldn’t have charged the offenders so quickly.
We need sentences that allow our children to be rehabilitated. But, authorities in Lake County are charging these 5 teens with murder. We should instead seek other pathways to accountability. Join us in pushing for more just laws. #Twill @JusticeRestore https://t.co/T8uPXZF9i5
— Restore Justice Foundation (@JusticeRestore) August 15, 2019
And this protects the community how?
Exactly how long is a reasonable amount of time before unlawful detention or arrest kick in and a defense attorney or public defender is pounding on the door claiming civil rights violations?
Let the justice system do its job. Quit politicking on the back of tragedy. No one ever is a winner in these cases.