Coroner: Teen killed by police in Illinois shot in back

Posted: April 7, 2015 by gamegetterII in Police state USSA
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ZION, Ill. (AP) — An autopsy has revealed that a teenager killed by a police officer in Illinois over the weekend was shot twice in the back, authorities said Monday.

Justus Howell was shot by Zion police on Saturday afternoon. Police say officers responding to a call about an altercation began chasing a male when he ran from the scene. They say that after the teen was shot, officers recovered a handgun.

The Lake County Coroner’s Office said in a statement Monday that one bullet struck the 17-year-old in the left back and penetrated his heart, spleen and liver. Another bullet struck him on the right side of his back. Tests to determine whether drugs were in the victim’s system are pending.

The Zion police chief didn’t return calls Monday seeking comment about the autopsy results. Zion is a community of about 24,000 people along Lake Michigan about 45 miles north of Chicago, near Illinois’ border with Wisconsin.

Howell was black and his relatives contacted the NAACP asking its officials to speak on their behalf, according to Lake County NAACP president Jennifer Witherspoon. She says Howell’s relatives are hoping to find out exactly what happened as quickly as possible.

“Whether it was a mistake on his part or a mistake on the police’s part, they want answers to make sure something like this never happens again,” she said.

The teen’s death comes months after an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, an incident that sparked protests and heightened concerns about how minorities are treated by police around country. Police in Zion haven’t provided any details on the officer involved in Howell’s shooting, including the officer’s race.

“Here in America we are seeing this with too many brown and black boys,” said Witherspoon, who added she was encouraged that Zion police quickly handed the investigation over to the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

Family members gathered Sunday near the site of the shooting to pay tribute to Howell.

Howell, was a high school junior who transferred from a school in Wisconsin to Waukegan Public School District 60, spokesman Nick Alajakis told the Chicago Tribune.

Alajakis said the teenager attended the Lakeshore Academy, a privately-operated school that takes students from the district and, according to the district’s website, serves academically struggling students.

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