Stolen truck led to fatal police shooting in Wauconda, authorities say

  • Police officials investigate a fatal, officer-involved shooting Monday on the 100 block of Slocum Lake Road in Wauconda.

    Police officials investigate a fatal, officer-involved shooting Monday on the 100 block of Slocum Lake Road in Wauconda. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Updated 4/8/2014 6:52 PM

The search for a stolen pickup truck led to Monday's fatal shooting of a gun-wielding man by police officers in Wauconda, authorities said.

John T. Nightingale, 36, address unknown, was killed during a confrontation outside a house on the 100 block of Slocum Lake Road.


Nightingale's identity was released by the Lake County coroner's office Tuesday after investigators found his relatives in Buffalo, N.Y., Chief Deputy Coroner Orlando Portillo said.

An autopsy revealed Nightingale died of a gunshot wound. But Portillo wouldn't say if he was shot more than once, citing the police investigation.

Toxicology test results are pending, he said.

Wauconda police officers had gone to the house while investigating a bulletin about a Ford pickup truck that had been reported stolen in Cary, authorities said.

The person who filed the theft report claimed he lent the vehicle to someone for repairs, and it was overdue, Cary Police Chief Patrick Finlon said.

The truck was found behind a house on Slocum Lake Road, across the street from where the shooting occurred, Finlon said.

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When police arrived at the house, Nightingale confronted them with a handgun, authorities said. They shot him when he refused to drop the weapon, authorities said.

Nightingale died at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. No officers were hurt.

Wauconda police had contact with Nightingale in the past, Deputy Chief Thomas Bender said. The most recent incident was about four years ago, he said.

One of the cases was a traffic-related arrest, Bender said. Details were not immediately available.

Friends of Nightingale who live on Slocum Lake Road recalled him as a generous man who would give you money for gas or a meal if you needed it.

"I'm devastated," said Liz Schramm, who had known Nightingale for about seven years.

Nightingale had lived in a couple of houses on the block through the years, Schramm said, and elsewhere in Wauconda. He was a gifted HVAC technician and had served in the military, Schramm said.


"I want people to know he was loved," she said.

The two Wauconda police officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid leave, authorities said. That's routine procedure after an officer-involved shooting, Bender said.

"It's a traumatic thing to go through for everyone involved," he said. "When they are ready, they'll be welcomed back."

The case remains under investigation by the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force. Task force leader George Filenko declined to release many details Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigation.

Wauconda police have been involved in three or four shootings in the town's history, Mayor Frank Bart said.

Bart called the area where the shooting occurred a safe neighborhood and called the violent confrontation "a very rare occurrence."

He also expressed condolences to the families of the people involved in the shooting.

"It's always difficult when someone loses their life in a tragic way, whether they were a suspect or not," Bart said.

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