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updated: 4/10/2014 9:16 AM

2 different portraits painted of man killed by police

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  • Video: Friends recall shooting

  • Jamie and Liz Schramm hold a photograph of John T. Nightingale, as they talk about their friend on their porch in Wauconda. Nightingale was shot to death by Wauconda police Monday after he refused to drop a handgun, authorities said.

       Jamie and Liz Schramm hold a photograph of John T. Nightingale, as they talk about their friend on their porch in Wauconda. Nightingale was shot to death by Wauconda police Monday after he refused to drop a handgun, authorities said.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • John T. Nightingale was shot and killed by Wauconda police on Monday.

      John T. Nightingale was shot and killed by Wauconda police on Monday.

  • Jamie and Liz Schramm, on their porch in Wauconda, holding a photograph of John T. Nightingale, as they talk about their friend. Nightingale was shot to death by Wauconda police Monday after he refused to drop a handgun, authorities said.

       Jamie and Liz Schramm, on their porch in Wauconda, holding a photograph of John T. Nightingale, as they talk about their friend. Nightingale was shot to death by Wauconda police Monday after he refused to drop a handgun, authorities said.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • John T. Nightingale in 2008.

      John T. Nightingale in 2008.
    Courtesy of Liz Schramm

 
 

Wauconda resident Jamie Schramm was helping his friend John move some equipment Monday when someone said he needed to go across the street to his own home.

His wife needed him, Schramm recalled being told.

As Schramm crossed from the north to south side of Slocum Lake Road, three police cars pulled up to the two-story house where his friend had been staying. Officers jumped out carrying shotguns and other weapons. Others came around the back of the house.

The police ordered Schramm out of the way. They told him to get inside.

Moments later, gunfire erupted. Schramm hadn't yet made it across the street.

"I heard about a dozen," Schramm told the Daily Herald. "It was at least a dozen shots."

Schramm's friend, 36-year-old John T. Nightingale, was mortally wounded.

The shooting shocked Schramm and other people in the neighborhood who knew Nightingale. They described him as a generous man who'd give you gas money or take a group out for pizza without notice.

But people who knew Nightingale also said he lied about serving in the military, owed child support and kept a handgun in a rolled-up jacket near him when he slept.

Police on Wednesday continued investigating the shooting on the 100 block of Slocum Lake Road. Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko said his agency could wrap up its work Thursday. He expects to meet with the state's attorney's office Friday to review the case.

Officers were at the house Monday because they believed Nightingale might have a pickup truck that was reported stolen last week in Cary. The truck police were seeking was found parked behind Schramm's house.

Nightingale was staying with Michelle Lasky and her boyfriend, Al Dony, in the duplex apartment they rent in the house.

Dony had called police after receiving a call from a friend that Nightingale was wanted by authorities, Lasky said. He made the call from a gas station at the end of the block, and he met officers there a few minutes later, Lasky said.

Lasky was in the kitchen making something to eat when police arrived. Nightingale ran past her to the back door, and she heard Dony and police tell him to put down his gun.

Police shot Nightingale when he refused to drop the weapon, authorities have said.

Lasky heard the shots. She saw Nightingale's body in the doorway as police rushed her out of the house.

"I glanced down, I saw John, I kept going," she said.

Lasky said she expected police would arrest Nightingale if he had committed a crime. She didn't think he'd wind up dead.

"I never meant for this to happen," Lasky said. "Not in a million years."

Lasky, Schramm and Schramm's wife, Liz, said they had known Nightingale for about seven years.

Jamie Schramm said his friend claimed to be a Marine veteran, but Nightingale's ex-wife, Sara, insisted that wasn't true.

"He was not in the military," said Sara Nightingale, a retired Navy nurse formerly stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station. She and John divorced in 2006, Lake County court records show. "John was a military dependent."

Liz Schramm said Nightingale had three children from two different relationships, all living in other states. He had a twin sister, she said, and other family in Buffalo, N.Y.

Nightingale had been staying with Lasky and her boyfriend for less than two weeks, but he was a familiar face in the neighborhood. He lived in a different house on the block a few years ago, and elsewhere in Wauconda, she said.

Liz Schramm fought tears as she talked about him.

"He used to call me his second mom," she said. "I loved him. I loved the man."

Jamie Schramm didn't sense anything was wrong when he was with Nightingale before the shooting. He blamed police for his friend's death and asked why they didn't use other methods to peacefully resolve the situation.

"He was a good man," Schramm said.

Sara Nightingale painted a very different picture.

Her ex-husband used drugs during their marriage and owed child support, she said.

When the Navy learned of his drug use in September 2005, while the couple were still married, she was unable to be deployed to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, she said.

Sara filed an order of protection against her husband the same month, Lake County court records show.

Sara Nightingale learned of her ex-husband's death from a friend Tuesday night.

"I knew that something like this was going to happen," she said.

The Nightingales had two sons together. Sara said she hasn't yet told the boys, ages 11 and 9, about their father's death.

They haven't had contact with him for several years, she said. In the past, the boys told friends he died in Iraq, she said.

"I can't tell them that this is how it happened," Sara Nightingale said.

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