Investigators: Gurnee police shooting, Antioch standoff linked
A police confrontation in an Antioch neighborhood, a standoff with officers in Antioch Township and a fatal officer-involved shooting on Route 41 in Gurnee share a common link rooted in a call about a routine solicitor complaint.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigators and Antioch police determined a man found unconscious in a car in Gurnee and a woman who ran from that car -- and brandished a long-barrel weapon before being shot and killed by police -- also had been in a different car that struck an Antioch squad vehicle during an early morning run-in with officers there, authorities said Thursday.
Coroner Howard Cooper identified the woman killed by police as Makell Meyerin, 31, of Antioch, who was pronounced dead at 2:49 p.m. Wednesday at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. A preliminary autopsy indicated she died from multiple gunshot wounds and that toxicology tests are pending.
Jordan J. Huff, 37, of the 40500 block of North Main Street (Route 83), Antioch Township, is accused of driving into the Antioch squad car and was identified as the unconscious car passenger in Gurnee. He was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, criminal damage to state-supported property and resisting a peace officer. He is due in court Friday.
With the two suspects traveling about 15 miles from their run-in with Antioch police to where Meyerin was killed in Gurnee -- nearly traversing from one end of Lake County to the other -- task force spokesman Christopher Covelli said it was fortunate others were not injured or worse.
"Certainly, there was a very high danger risk," Covelli said.
Investigators are still probing a potential motive by Huff and Meyerin.
Investigators are also working with the FBI to determine if those involved in Wednesday's mayhem may also be tied to the Monday morning robbery of the NorStates Bank in the 5000 block of Grand Avenue in Gurnee. Police said the robbery involved a man and a woman wearing red masks and armed with an AK-47 military rifle.
Lake County investigators spent the hours after the fatal police shooting stitching together Wednesday's chain of events. This is how authorities say things unfolded:
It started with the run-of-the-mill solicitor complaint to police from an Antioch resident about 6:30 a.m. Police said a man and woman reportedly were knocking on doors and asking for money.
Upon arriving in the 400 block of Donin Drive, officers noticed a white Volkswagen convertible with a possibly suspicious man and woman inside. Huff ignored police requests to stop and rammed a squad car while leaving, authorities said.
Witnesses reported hearing a gunshot from the car, and a long-barreled weapon was spotted in the vehicle before it sped off.
Investigators worked late Wednesday and into Thursday to determine there actually were three people in the Volkswagen and it was driven to the 40500 block of North Route 83 in Antioch Township. It is the house where Huff lived, Covelli said.
One vehicle occupant entered the house. The others ran to a nearby house and picked up a white Prius from a family member and drove away, according to authorities.
Lake County sheriff's police said an unidentified man and woman in the house on North Route 83 were taken into custody just after 1 p.m. Wednesday after an hourslong standoff with police. Officers stormed the house, but no one was injured.
The man and woman were brought to Antioch police headquarters for questioning. Police concluded the woman was the third occupant in the Volkswagen, but was not involved in any wrongdoing and released. The man, who was the VW's registered owner, was not involved in the confrontation with officers and he also was freed.
As police were trying to enter the Antioch Township house, Gurnee police were dispatched to a report of a white Toyota Prius with a bullet hole in it that was parked at a stop sign near Harper and Gould streets.
Motorists were forced to go around the parked car because the driver, believed to be Meyerin, and Huff, in the passenger seat, were asleep. Covelli said officers noticed Huff was displaying overdose symptoms.
After paramedics arrived and while officers attempted to talk to Meyerin in the car, she sped from the scene and struck a Gurnee Fire Department vehicle.
Gurnee officers followed the Prius to Chittenden Park near Route 41, where Meyerin crashed and ran. Meyerin, who was seen waving the gun with a rifle-style barrel, eventually moved to the southbound lanes of Route 41.
"At one point, the woman approached a car on Route 41 with the weapon in hand," Covelli said. "The driver was able to back up and get out of harm's way."
Covelli said officers repeatedly tried to negotiate with Meyerin before shooting her. He said two Gurnee officers have been placed on administrative leave -- typical in a police-involved shooting -- and they were released from a hospital after an evaluation.
"There was a lot of trauma that was involved on their end," Covelli said. The task force will conduct their investigation and turn it over the Lake County State's Attorney who will determine if the shooting was justified, he added.
Covelli said Huff was brought to a hospital, where he was treated and released into police custody.
Since 2004, Meyerin had been charged with six criminal misdemeanors and four criminal felonies, according to the Lake County circuit clerk's public database. Her most recent felony charge was for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance in March. Covelli said there was still a warrant out for her arrest.
Meyerin had also been charged with a felony count of theft of between $300 and $10,000 in February 2010 and a felony count of burglary in March 2010. She was sentenced to 100 days in jail, 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service for the burglary charge.
Covelli also confirmed Huff and Meyerin were charged in June 2013 with damage to 10 or more graves, a felony offense, after they were caught on camera removing vases from burial plots at Mt. Olivet Memorial Park in Zion. Meyerin was sentenced to 90 days in county jail, 18 months of periodic imprisonment and 30 months probation. Huff was found guilty and sentenced to 49 months in prison.
Since 1999, Huff has been charged with four misdemeanors and three felonies, not including the charges that came down Thursday. In 1999, he was charged with felony manufacture and delivery of cocaine and sentenced to four years in prison and 30 months of probation. In 2008, he was charged with felony drug possession and sentenced to 90 days in jail, 50 hours of public service and two years probation.
• Daily Herald Staff Writer Doug T. Graham contributed to this report.