State's attorney: Round Lake officer who shot and killed man used 'reasonable force'
A Round Lake police officer used reasonable force when she shot and killed a man who threatened her with broken glass during an altercation last year, according to a finding released Friday by the Lake County state's attorney.
Michael Musson Jr., 22, of Grayslake died during the fight with Officer Valerie Liss on the 0-100 block of MacGillis Drive on Sept. 2, 2016.
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim reviewed information compiled in the roughly 10-month investigation of the officer-involved shooting, according to the announcement from his office. The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force conducted the probe.
"Based upon the facts gathered in this investigation and a review of applicable Illinois statutes, Officer Liss utilized reasonable force to subdue Mr. Musson," Nerheim said.
Liss was the lone officer to arrive at the scene about 11:30 p.m. after dispatchers received several calls of someone pounding on doors on the block. One caller said the man was trying to break down a door, authorities said.
According to the investigation, Liss first saw Musson slamming his body into the front door of the house of someone who complained to police. He was hurling items at the house and she saw remnants of broken glass in the area.
Liss tried to determine why Musson was in the area and whether he lived at the house. She called for backup units after noticing Musson was cut and had blood on his clothes, Nerheim said in his conclusion.
"As Officer Liss was speaking to Mr. Musson and evaluating the circumstances, he grabbed a large piece of broken glass and attacked the officer," the report stated. "The attack was violent and unprovoked."
Liss didn't have access to a "defensive weapon" when Musson pinned her arms and hands under her body. No other officers were present to provide aid.
"Mr. Musson snapped her head back to expose her throat," the report said. "He made 'slicing' motions against her throat leading her to believe that he was slitting her throat with the broken glass. Mr. Musson then began to gouge his fingers into her eye sockets. Mr. Musson repeatedly told Officer Liss, 'I'm going to kill you.' Based on these facts, she believed that she was going to be killed."
Liss freed herself after a "verbal distraction" from a MacGillis Drive resident, according to the report.
"When Officer Liss ordered Mr. Musson to not move, he ignored her command and rushed her again," the report said. "It was only then that she fired her weapon. She then, again, ordered Mr. Musson, 'Don't move.' He began to attack her again. This prompted the additional shots."
Nerheim said Liss believed the resident's life was in danger when she shot Musson. Musson was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed he died from multiple gun shots.
Investigators interviewed witnesses to determine what occurred before, during and after the shooting. They also reviewed the autopsy report and recovered physical evidence and police radio transmissions. Nerheim said Liss was not wearing a body camera, and there was no available squad-car or amateur video to examine.