Reported by ABC7 Chicago
Family and friends are gathering for a vigil Sunday for a teen who was fatally shot by police in Zion.
Investigators are collecting evidence after witnesses say Justus Howell, 17, from north suburban Waukegan, was running from police when an officer spotted what he thought was a gun. The officer fired two shots, reportedly hitting the victim in the back around 2 p.m. Saturday at 24th and Galilee. The teen was pronounced dead at Victory Hospital. Police say a handgun was recovered at the scene of the shooting.
Investigators have not identified the officer who fired the shots or any other details from the investigation, including whether Howard fired any shots.
Word of the shooting traveled quickly in the small community and many residents side with Howard. They say they believe police had no reason to shoot.
Reported by Chicago Tribune
The family of a man who died a week ago in the Lake County Jail has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming jail employees used excessive force and caused his wrongful death.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, claims that Gregory Thomas Smith, 39, of Hobart, died on March 25 from a cardiac arrest caused by jail employees using a stun gun on him.
John Bushemi, attorney for Sheriff John Buncich, said the sheriff has not been served with the lawsuit yet but said the case is still being investigated.
“The preliminary investigation indicates proper procedures were used in this case,” Bushemi said Wednesday afternoon.
The sheriff’s department said in a press release Monday that Smith had been arrested on a battery warrant out of Crown Point and was taken to the jail. As jail employees tried to move Smith to another section of the jail, he became violent, the sheriff’s department said, which is when jail officers used a stun gun on him.
The lawsuit, filed by the Jaime Smith, the mother of Smith’s two children, disputes that account however, instead claiming that he was emotionally unstable but was not acting aggressively toward the jail officers.
The sheriff’s department said he was treated by two jail nurses at the scene and was then taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake in Merrillville, where he was pronounced dead.
The lawsuit names Lake County, Sheriff John Buncich and unidentified officers as defendants.
Along with the excessive force and wrongful death claims, the lawsuit also makes a state battery and two indemnification claims. The lawsuit does not request any specific damages.
Reported by ABC 15
PHOENIX – A suspect wanted by police for a probation violation was shot and killed Wednesday after pulling out a gun in front of officers in Tempe, according to authorities.
A second man, who was with the suspect and caught in the crossfire, was also shot and taken to a local hospital where he died, police confirmed.
Officials said the U.S. Marshal Task Force initially tried to take Salvador Muna into custody on Tuesday, but were unsuccessful. On Wednesday, that task force went to a different location and found Muna.
Police said Muna hopped into a vehicle driven by his friend, Joaquin Hernandez, and fled eastbound on Baseline Road.
Witnesses said authorities conducted a maneuver to pin the suspects’ vehicle near the 48th Street intersection.
Authorities said Muna pulled out a gun, pointed it at officers and that’s when four officers, one from Tempe, one from Chandler and two from Mesa, opened fire. Witnesses reported hearing at least six shots. It is unclear at this time if Muna actually fired his weapon.
Police confirmed that Muna died at the scene. Authorities say Muna has various felony violations, including drug and weapons charges.
Hernandez was hurt in the crossfire and taken to a local hospital. He died a short time later.
Authorities said no officers were injured in the shooting.
Air15 video showed several vehicles, some appearing to be undercover police vehicles, crowded around several other vehicles near 48th Street and Baseline Road.
Reported by The Free Thought Project.com
Burlington, IA — A Burlington Police officer, supervising a domestic dispute, shot and killed a woman in front of her house Tuesday morning.
The victim has been identified as 34-year-old Autumn Steele. The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI), who is leading the investigation, has not released the name of the officer who shot her.
There is no indication that Steele or her husband were armed or that they posed a threat to the officer involved.
According to court records Steele was arrested Monday night on a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse. She was released from the jail and told that she could not return to the home without a police officer escort in order to gather her belongings.
Steele then returned to the home with her police officer escort, the same person that would later kill her.
As her husband, Gabriel Steele, was loading up their 4-year-old son, Steele came out of the house and got into an altercation with him. She was followed by the dog.
When the escort officer saw the disturbance he went to break it up. Witnesses say that at this time the dog was being playful, but apparently still threatened the officer which caused him to draw his pistol and begin shooting.
One of the shots fired struck Steele in the chest.
“The dog startled the officer. The officer began shooting at the dog. The officer was still shooting when he fell down in the snow,” one witness told The Hawk Eye Newspaper.
“It appeared he was shooting at the dog when (the officer) fell to the ground. It’s my belief the woman was shot accidentally,” said another witness.
Seconds after the shooting another Burlington officer arrived on the scene and both officers tried to calm Gabriel Steele, who wanted to help his wife.
“I’m a combat veteran,” he screamed. “What are you guys (police) doing? Let me help.”
Steele was eventually taken by ambulance to the Great River Medical Center where she later died of the gunshot wound to the chest.
This is a tragic case of police incompetence. The very government agency who claims the authority to carry deadly weapons into all situations often disregard this heavy responsibility and end up hurting those they ostensibly protect.
Reported by Inquisitr
Tommy McClain had just “liked” a post on the Facebook page of a cousin whose home he shared, when he became the latest victim of a controversial police shooting early Wednesday morning. Now the family and friends of 22-year-old Tommy McClain want answers from the Eureka, California, police who claim that the young man reached for a gun just before they opened fire.
McClain’s family says that’s not true. And that’s not all. Nichole Mottern, wife of McClain’s cousin Josh Mottern, says that the cops tasered her husband when he saw McClain’s lifeless body lying face down in his front yard and became distraught.
The police shooting — which follows several other police killings of unarmed or apparently unarmed young men in recent weeks — happened at about 12:30 am on the morning of Wednesday, September 17, when McClain was outside on the porch of the home he shared with the Motterns and their two children. Originally from Fresno, McClain became part of the Mottern family, Nichole Mottern said, when he came to live with them in Eureka “to get away from the Fresno lifestyle.”
Nichole Mottern said that she was talking with McClain on the porch of their Eureka home after midnight on Wednesday morning, but soon went inside to check on her husband, who’d had a few drinks too many that evening.
When inside, she looked out a window and saw a police officer in her back yard. When she went back outside, according to Mottern’s mother-in-law Corinna Ward who was also present, there were “five or maybe six” officers in a semi-circle around McClain.
“A cop yelled, ‘He’s got a gun.’” Mottern said, describing what happened next. “They all fired. I saw him getting shot from all different angles. First one fired and then they all fired. It wasn’t one cop. It was them all. There were a lot of cops. He crumpled down into the ground.”
Mottern said that McClain had nothing in his hand, bit Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills said the next day that investigators recovered a gun from the scene. But Mills said that he would not describe the gun until forensic investigators had a chance to examine it.
A neighbor who witnessed the incident, but did not want to be identified, said there “there was an object in (McClain’s) hand” when he was shot.
At a vigil in Eureka for McClain on Friday, Andrew Evans — a friend of Tommy McClain — described the slain man as “a mellow, kind kid. I could never see him being violent.”
A “Justice For Tommy McClain” Facebook page has been created by supporters of McClain’s family, calling for a full investigation into the police shooting death of Tommy McClain.
Police were searching for two men with outstanding felony warrants, but it was not clear whether Tommy McClain was one of those men.
Reported by Huffington Post
Police body camera video shows that a Salt Lake City police officer was justified in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in August, prosecutors in Utah say.
Dillon Taylor died in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven on Aug. 11 after Officer Bron Cruz responded to reports of an armed man in the area. Police said Cruz approached Taylor and two of his friends because they matched the description he was given.
Although no weapon was found on Taylor, Cruz was cleared of wrongdoing in the case Tuesday. Prosecutor Slim Gill said that the shooting was justified because Cruz thought Taylor had a weapon and that he would use it against him.
Video of the incident (above) shows Taylor walking away with his hands in his waistband under his shirt.
“Get your hands up, now!” Cruz is heard yelling in the video.
“No, fool.” Taylor replies, continuing to walk away.
When Taylor turns around and removes his hands from this waistband, Cruz shoots him twice, striking him in the chest and abdomen.
A deposition obtained by KSL Tuesday noted that Cruz became emotional when he recounted the incident, and said that although he “wasn’t about to shoot [Taylor] in the back,” he was “100 percent convinced when I saw him turn around it was gonna be a gunfight.”
“Nothing that Mr. Taylor did assisted in de-escalating the situation,” Gill told the Salt Lake Tribune. “If anything, it escalated things.”
“Officer Cruz’s belief that Dillon Taylor was armed with a gun and intended to use it against the officers was reinforced by Dillon’s actions and the acts of others,” Gill wrote in a letter to Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank obtained by the newspaper. “By the time Dillon drew his hands from his waistband, Officer Cruz’s belief that Dillon was presenting a weapon [and … would use the weapon against officers] was reasonable.”
Officials said Taylor’s blood alcohol level was .18 percent when he was shot, according to Fox Salt Lake City. Days before his death, Taylor posted Facebook statuses that indicated he was emotionally distressed, the station reported.
Kelly Fowler, the attorney for Taylor’s family, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the prosecutor’s decision indulges police hostility and paranoia in dealing with the public.