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Licensed gun owner shoots and kills 14-year-old boy during attempted car theft; 5 teens charged with murder

Alice Yin, Dan Moran, Annie Sweeney and Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

A 75-year-old licensed concealed-carry gun owner shot and killed a 14-year-old Chicago boy when a group of teens appeared at his Lake County, Ill., home early Tuesday morning, with the group then taking off in a high-speed chase that ended in Chicago when the stolen car they were driving ran out of gas, Lake County authorities said Tuesday.

By Tuesday night, the group of Chicago teens had been charged with first-degree murder by the Lake County state's attorney's office.

"The teens were charged due to them being in commission of a forcible felony, when the 14-year-old victim was shot and subsequently died as a result of being shot during the commission of a burglary," according to a Tuesday night news release from the Lake County sheriff's office.

Illinois law allows for authorities to charge suspects with murder if someone dies during the commission of another serious crime. Known as the felony murder rule, the statute has proved controversial, particularly when it is used to charge juveniles.

An investigation found the six teenagers traveled to Old Mill Creek in a stolen Lexus to commit a burglary, according to the news release. The 75-year-old homeowner went outside to see why there were people near his parked 2011 Audi and yelled at the individuals to leave, but at least one male teen moved toward him with an unknown object in his hand, officials said in the release.

Earlier Tuesday, Lake County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Chris Covelli said deputies responded to a 911 call in the 17600 block of West Edwards Road in Old Mill Creek about 1:15 a.m. The caller told dispatchers he shot at thieves before they fled, Covelli said.


"The homeowner feared for his life," the Tuesday night release said.

The homeowner fired "several shots" at the subjects, Covelli said, adding that it was possibly more than three shots. A 14-year-old from Chicago was wounded "in the head area" while he was outside the car, according to Covelli. Covelli said "a bowie-style knife" was recovered at the scene of the shooting. The group left the scene in the Lexus.

Soon afterward, six people in a stolen 2015 Lexus SUV encountered Gurnee police officers investigating a crash at Route 132 and Hunt Club Road. They asked for help for one of the passengers who had a gunshot wound, Covelli said. Police administered first aid to the passenger, who was then taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. The passenger was pronounced dead at the hospital, Covelli said.

A person who left the Lexus with the wounded passenger was taken into custody, but the other four sped off in the Lexus.


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