Grayslake police say teen fire victim also had gunshot wound

 
 
Updated 8/25/2017 6:34 PM
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  • Grayslake police Detective Steve Kueber, left, Chief Phil Perlini and Sgt. Joe Holtz answer questions about a Tuesday house fire when three police officers rescued a teenage boy and later found he had suffered a gunshot wound. The teen's grandmother killed herself two days later.

      Grayslake police Detective Steve Kueber, left, Chief Phil Perlini and Sgt. Joe Holtz answer questions about a Tuesday house fire when three police officers rescued a teenage boy and later found he had suffered a gunshot wound. The teen's grandmother killed herself two days later. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Grayslake police Detective Steve Kueber takes a question about a Tuesday house fire when three police officers rescued a teenager and later found he had suffered a gunshot wound. The victim's grandmother killed herself two days later. Behind the detective is Chief Phil Perlini.

      Grayslake police Detective Steve Kueber takes a question about a Tuesday house fire when three police officers rescued a teenager and later found he had suffered a gunshot wound. The victim's grandmother killed herself two days later. Behind the detective is Chief Phil Perlini. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Grayslake Police Chief Phil Perlini answers questions about a Tuesday house fire when three police officers rescued a teenager and later found he also had a gunshot wound to his head.

      Grayslake Police Chief Phil Perlini answers questions about a Tuesday house fire when three police officers rescued a teenager and later found he also had a gunshot wound to his head. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The house on the 300 block of Normandy Lane in Grayslake, which was the scene of a shooting and fire Tuesday.

      The house on the 300 block of Normandy Lane in Grayslake, which was the scene of a shooting and fire Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Grayslake-Hainesville police officer Ken Arnold watches over the fire scene Tuesday on the 300 block of Normandy Lane.

      Grayslake-Hainesville police officer Ken Arnold watches over the fire scene Tuesday on the 300 block of Normandy Lane. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

The feel-good story about police rescuing a Grayslake teenager from a house fire has taken a bizarre turn that has investigators digging into the details of what happened that night and in the days since.

Police reported Friday that after pulling the 17-year-old victim from the house early Tuesday morning, they discovered he had a gunshot wound to his head.

And the boy's 65-year-old grandmother, after she was questioned by police two days later, asked her granddaughter to ingest a bottle of prescription medication, police said. Deborah St. Antoine-Browne, the guardian of her two grandchildren who also lived in the house, killed herself later that day.

During a news conference Friday, Grayslake Police Chief Phil Perlini said police have theories about what happened and expect the picture to become clearer after speaking with the victim.

"We have several theories and we haven't actually been able to prove any of those theories out," Perlini said during a news conference Friday. "We still have to talk to the teenage victim, who is recovering from surgery."

Perlini said he doesn't expect the teen to be available to talk to investigators until Monday at the earliest.

Police and fire crews were dispatched to the house on the 300 block of Normandy Lane for a fire about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. There, three police officers ran through the smoke without safety equipment to rescue a 17-year-old from an upstairs room. The officers were treated for injuries.

After the rescue, police discovered the teen had a gunshot wound to his head in addition to burn injuries on his body, authorities said. He was taken to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood for treatment, authorities said.

Police searched the house for several hours and recovered a .38-caliber pistol, authorities said. The gun is registered, Perlini said, but he didn't say to whom.

Perlini would not say whether the teen's gunshot was self-inflicted. He also could not say whether the fire and the gunshot wound were related. He said the state fire marshal said the cause of the fire is undetermined.

During the investigation, police took statements from several witnesses and the fire victims, Perlini said. That led investigators to interview St. Antoine-Browne Thursday at Loyola University Medical Center, where police obtained statements, fingerprints and DNA, authorities said.

Two hours later, Grayslake police were told by the Cook County sheriff's office that St. Antoine-Browne had killed herself by jumping off the top floor of the medical center parking garage.

Additionally, authorities said, the Department of Children and Family Services were told that before St. Antoine-Browne killed herself, she gave her granddaughter a bottle of prescription medication and instructed the girl to take it all. The girl ingested some of the medication but sought medical help in the emergency department, authorities said.

The children are being cared for by DCFS, authorities said.

Authorities said St. Antoine-Brown was "the guardian for the children and had been for quite some time," and police were trying to reach out to the parents of the children.

Perlini said St. Antoine-Browne was involved in a felony case in Lake County. Court records show she was wanted on a warrant on two felony counts of forgery for altering official documents. Perlini would not discuss the case.

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