Witness: Suspect shot by Round Lake cop attacked officer first

  • Round Lake resident Donna Kelly points to the tree branch she said Michael Musson Jr. wielded during a struggle with a Round Lake police officer Friday night. Kelly said Musson tackled the female officer, who was able to free herself and shoot Musson as he charged at her.

    Round Lake resident Donna Kelly points to the tree branch she said Michael Musson Jr. wielded during a struggle with a Round Lake police officer Friday night. Kelly said Musson tackled the female officer, who was able to free herself and shoot Musson as he charged at her. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

  • Michael Musson Jr.

    Michael Musson Jr.

 
Updated 9/6/2016 2:07 AM

The fatal Round Lake police shooting of a Grayslake man started when the man tackled an officer as she approached while he was using a tree branch to break windows in a townhouse neighborhood, according to a woman who said she saw the confrontation.

Donna Kelly, of the 0-100 block of MacGillis Drive in Round Lake, said a friend who was with her yelled at 22-year-old Michael Musson Jr., who was on top of the officer. That may have distracted him enough to allow the officer to push him away, scramble to her feet and fire her weapon as Musson charged at her, Kelly said. Musson got up after being shot and advanced on the police officer again, she said.

 

"And the guy kept coming, so she fired more. He was a clear threat to her," she added.

Police had been called to the scene around 10:50 p.m. after receiving several calls of someone pounding on doors on the block. Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said one caller said the person was trying to break down a door.

When police arrived, Musson was holding a glass shard when he confronted the Round Lake officer and a physical struggle ensued, Covelli said.

"Likely, he got it from some of the property he damaged and the glass he broke," Covelli said Sunday. "He damaged property of numerous homes in that area."

The Major Crime Task Force was called shortly after 11 p.m. to investigate the shooting, Covelli said. The officer, a 12-year department veteran, has been put on paid administrative leave, he said.

Musson was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed he died from multiple gun shots, the Lake County coroner's office said Sunday.

Covelli said authorities said Musson has a Grayslake address, but he was living with another person in the area where the shooting took place.

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The task force's investigation is likely to take several more weeks, as interviews are conducted and information is subpoenaed, Covelli said. He said the possibility of the existence of dashboard camera footage is being explored. Round Lake police do not use body-worn cameras.

He said he could not confirm whether police had spoken with Kelly.

Round Lake police Chief Michael Gillette said the officer, who was sent to a hospital for evaluation, was released early Saturday morning and is at home.

Kelly said her friend told her he heard a commotion and they walked to the townhouse porch and saw someone "out there with a big stick breaking windows."

When they noticed Musson getting closer to them, they decided to call police, but saw an officer already had arrived.

"He (Musson) was over there, and the police officer shined her flashlight at him and said, 'Stop, police.' And as soon as she did that, he charged her and tackled her. He just laid her out. Just front-tackled her and got right on top of her," Kelly said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Her friend stepped off the porch, ran toward the two and screamed, "Get off her," Kelly said. "I think he surprised the guy."

The officer was able to push Musson off before rushing her again while still holding the branch, Kelly said.

"He still had it in his hand," she said. "I don't know what he had in the other hand. All the police reports and all the news reports said that he had a piece of glass in his other hand. I never saw his other hand. I do know he was bleeding, because all of our garage doors were smeared with blood. Every single one of them were smeared with blood. So I do know that he was bleeding."

By this time, the officer had gotten to her knees, then stood up. Kelly said she did not see the shots being fired, but heard them and saw the officer holding a gun.

"She shot a couple of times, and he got up again and went after her. And I heard her say a second time, 'Stay down,'" Kelly said.

Her friend also urged Musson to stay down, Kelly said.

By Sunday morning, the area was clear of police activity, but signs of vandalism were visible in the alleyway between two sets of garages, including broken garage door handles and a shattered lamp. There were no signs of any blood smeared on garage doors.

Musson had a history with law enforcement. In a 2013 Grayslake brawl, he was one of four people charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer and resisting arrest in a fight that sent three officers to the hospital, according to court records.

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