Officials: 5 teens charged with murder after accomplice is shot during attempted burglary
A 75-year-old man shot a 14-year-old who authorities say was in the man's Lake County driveway trying to break into his car, and the five teens accused of being the boy's accomplices are charged with his murder.
Charged with first-degree murder are one 16-year-old boy, three 17-year-old boys and 18-year-old Diamond C. Davis, all of Chicago. The names of the dead teen, the juvenile suspects and the 75-year-old have not been released.
Though none of the five are accused of pulling the trigger, they are charged under a state law known as the felony murder rule, which allows a person to be charged with the murder of an accomplice killed in the commission of certain crimes.
All five suspects appeared Tuesday afternoon in Lake County bond court, where a county judge set bail at $1 million each. Their next court appearance will be Sept. 5.
The 75-year-old homeowner, who police say has a valid FOID card and concealed carry permit, has not been charged.
The 14-year-old was shot in the head in the driveway of the home near Old Mill Creek, Lake County authorities said. After fleeing, the suspects dropped off the mortally wounded teen with Gurnee police officers who were investigating an unrelated traffic crash. One of the 17-year-olds remained at that location, and the car with the four others drove away, authorities say, beginning a high-speed chase through the suburbs and into Chicago's West Loop. The car, a stolen 2015 Lexus SUV, ran out of gas and the four ran, but all were taken into custody.
Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Covelli said deputies were called about 1:15 a.m. to the 17600 block of West Edwards Road by the resident, who reported shooting at a group of people trying to break into his 2011 Audi parked in his driveway in a wooded, rural area.
The man was armed with a small-caliber revolver when he walked out his front door to approach the group, Covelli said Tuesday. The man told police he yelled at them to leave but that at least one of them started walking toward him "with an unknown object in his hand," the sheriff's department said in a statement Tuesday evening.
The homeowner "feared for his life" and that of his wife, and fired his gun, sheriff's police said.
Covelli said investigators haven't determined how many rounds were fired, but it appears to have been more than three.
Covelli said deputies later recovered a Bowie-style knife at the scene of the shooting. Investigators believe one of them might have been holding it when they approached the 75-year-old man, he said.
A short time later, the Lexus carrying six people stopped at Route 132 and Hunt Club Road, where Gurnee police officers were investigating a crash near the Gurnee Mills shopping center, Covelli said. The occupants of the Lexus told police one of the passengers needed medical assistance and removed the 14-year-old boy, he said.
"They were calling for help when they approached the police car," Covelli said. "One could imagine they saw an emergency vehicle and that's why they pulled over there to help their wounded friend."
Gurnee officers performed first aid until an ambulance arrived to rush the 14-year-old to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. The boy died at the hospital.
"Anytime there's a loss of life it is a tragedy for the family and friends of the deceased," Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said at a news conference Tuesday. "Our condolences go out to the family of the young man who lost his life."
Gurnee police and eventually Lake County Sheriff's deputies were involved in pursuing the four teens in the Lexus, Covelli said. The chase continued onto southbound I-94, with speeds reaching 120 mph, Covelli said.
Illinois State Police joined in, before the Lexus got off the interstate at Randolph Street in Chicago. It stopped near the intersection of Randolph and Halsted street in the West Loop and the occupants ran from the vehicle. Covelli said police later learned the SUV had run out of gas.
Three of the occupants -- a 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old boy and Davis -- were captured by police almost immediately. A fourth, a 17-year-old boy, was caught hiding in a garbage container about 45 minutes later by Lake County Sheriff's police dog Dax and his handler, Deputy John Forlenza, Covelli said.
Authorities later determined the Lexus was stolen two days ago from a driveway in Wilmette, Covelli said.
The four juvenile suspects, though charged as adults, will be taken to the Hulse Juvenile Detention Center in Vernon Township. Davis is being held in Lake County jail.
The only properties on the 17600 block of West Edwards Road are a home and an attached exotic-meats farm. A worker at Blackwing Meats who answered the phone Tuesday morning said she was "not allowed to give any information out" about the shooting.
It does not appear the suspects specifically targeted that home, Covelli said. It is not uncommon that thieves steal from or drive away with vehicles left unlocked in front of homes in Lake County, he added, noting it most often occurs when the owner leaves keys in the vehicle.
"All a car thief has to do is open the door, step on the brake, push the ignition button and off they go," Covelli said.