Authorities release name of Black man fatally shot by cop
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — A Black man fatally shot by a suburban Chicago police officer who also shot and wounded a Black woman after her vehicle rolled toward the officer following a traffic stop was identified Thursday by authorities as a 19-year-old from Waukegan.
Preliminary autopsy results on Marcellis Stinnette indicate that he died “from injuries due to a gunshot,” Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said.
Stinnette and a woman whom relatives have identified as his girlfriend and the mother of his child were in a vehicle that fled a traffic stop late Tuesday, according to police. That vehicle was spotted a little later by another officer on patrol. While that officer was approaching the vehicle, it began moving in reverse, police said, and the officer opened fire.
Cooper said Stinnette’s death remains under investigation by Cooper’s office and Illinois State Police.
“We have been in close contact with Mr. Stinnette’s family and our deepest condolences go out to them during this difficult time. This is truly a tragedy,” Cooper said in a statement.
The driver, a Waukegan woman in her 20s, whom relatives identified as Tafara Williams, was hospitalized in serious condition.
No weapon was found in the vehicle, police said.
The officer who shot the couple is Hispanic and a five-year veteran of the Waukegan department. The officer who conducted the original traffic stop is white, according to the department.
Relatives gathered Wednesday afternoon outside Waukegan police headquarters. Williams’ mother told reporters that her daughter told her that she and Stinnette had done nothing to provoke the shooting.
A protest was scheduled for noon Thursday at the site of the shooting, followed by a march to police headquarters, said Clyde McLemore, the Lake County chapter president of Black Lives Matters. He called for calm.
“We’re not here to rip up our own town,” McLemore said.
Body camera and squad car video have been turned over to Illinois State Police, which will present findings to the local prosecutors office, Waukegan police Commander Edgar Navarro said.
Waukegan is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where nights of protests erupted after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was left paralyzed after being shot seven times in the back by police on Aug. 25. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of nearby Antioch, Illinois, is accused of shooting and killing two protesters two nights later.
Rittenhouse is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court in Waukegan next week for a hearing on whether he should be returned to Wisconsin to face homicide charges.
Blake’s uncle Justin Blake said it appeared that there were some similarities between what happened to his nephew and this week’s shooting in Waukegan. He urged police to release more information, including any videos.
“It seems like this started with some kind of traffic violation,” Blake told The Associated Press on Thursday ahead of the protest, which he planned to attend. “You think somebody deserved to die over a traffic stop?”
Blake said he and other relatives planned to attend Thursday’s protest in Waukegan.
During a Wednesday news conference, Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham asked residents to wait until all the facts are known before reacting to the shooting of Stinnette. Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim noted in a statement that it may be several weeks before the investigation is complete.
Waukegan, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Chicago, has a population of about 85,000, 55% of whom are white and 17% of whom are Black, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. About 55% of the community’s residents are Hispanic.