Teens charged in murder of beloved Waukegan coach, counselor

  • Waukegan High School coach and Smith Middle School counselor Niolis Collazo was shot and killed on May 6.

    Waukegan High School coach and Smith Middle School counselor Niolis Collazo was shot and killed on May 6. Courtesy of GoFundMe

By ISabella Grosso
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 6/1/2023 9:24 PM

Two teenagers have been charged in the murder of a 23-year-old high school volleyball coach and middle school counselor who was shot in May while driving in Waukegan.

Waukegan police said they arrested a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy, whose names they did not provide, early Thursday morning. Both have been charged as adults with three counts of first-degree murder and are expected to appear in court Friday, accoring to a news release.


Niolis Collazo was fatally shot while driving in the area of 10th Street and Lewis Avenue at 10:36 p.m. May 6.

She graduated from Waukegan High School in 2018. She coached freshman boys volleyball at the school and also served as a counselor and mentor at Smith Middle School.

In a statement Thursday evening, Mayor Ann Taylor called Collazo "a beloved Waukeganite, a cherished coach, and a mentor to Waukegan students."

"While nothing we ever can do will fully ease the Collazo's family pain and anguish during this time, I am pleased the Waukegan Police Department and the Lake County state's attorney successfully collaborated in the arrests that occurred earlier this morning," Taylor said.

During the search of the suspects' homes Thursday, authorities discovered two guns at one location and four guns at the second, the news release said. One of the guns was reported to have been stolen out of Florida.

• Daily Herald staff writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.

Go to comments: 0 posted
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.