Five Chicago teenagers are being charged with murder after a 14-year-old who was with them was shot and killed by a homeowner during an alleged burglary attempt, according to authorities.
Deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office were called to a home in Old Mill Creek, Illinois, about 47 miles north of Chicago, Tuesday around 1:15 a.m. following the shooting, Detective Sgt. Chris Covelli told reporters in a news conference.
The 75-year-old homeowner told deputies he went outside after noticing a suspicious SUV in his driveway and several people on his property, whom he believed were attempting to break into and steal his car, a 2011 Audi, Covelli said.
Armed with a revolver, the homeowner told authorities he was standing on his porch, yelling at them to leave, when two of the individuals “quickly approached him,” Covelli said. The man said he saw that one of the teens “holding something in his hand,” so he discharged his firearm at least three times out of fear for his and his wife’s safety.
The homeowner then called 911 to request an ambulance, and the teens fled, Covelli said.
About three miles from the man’s home, officers from the Gurnee Police Department responded to a crash involving an SUV, Covelli said. When the officers approached the 2015 Lexus, two people exited the vehicle — one of whom had a gunshot wound to his head.
The four people who were still in the SUV fled the scene “at high rate of speed,” reaching 120 mph on Interstate 94 as they were chased all the way back to Chicago by law enforcement officers from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Gurnee Police Department and Illinois State Police.
Once the vehicle was depleted of gas, the four people inside fled on foot, Covelli said. Three of them were found “pretty quickly,” and a Lake County deputy located the fourth suspect in a dumpster about a block away, buried under trash. The fifth suspect was taken into custody at the crash scene in Gurnee.
The five teens, ages 16 to 18, are being charged as adults for first-degree murder “due to them being in commission of a forcible felony,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. They appeared in court for an initial hearing Tuesday afternoon, where bond was set at $1 million each. They will appear in court next on Sept. 5.
The only suspect who was identified is the sole 18-year-old, Diamond Davis, who is being detained at the Lake County jail. The three 17-year-olds and the 16-year-old are being held at the Hulse Juvenile Detention Facility in Vernon Township.
A knife, “likely from one of the individuals,” was found on the man’s property, Covelli said. The Lexus SUV had been reported stolen in Antioch, some 10 miles southeast of Old Mill Creek, two days before the incident, Covelli said.
Covelli described the crime as a “random theft of a vehicle,” adding that investigators will look into whether the teens could be responsible for other vehicle thefts in the area. The teens may face additional charges, he added.
The homeowner was legally allowed to possess the gun he used in the shooting, Covelli said. The 14-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg extended condolences to the family of the teen who was killed, “despite the circumstances.”
“Anytime there is a loss of life, it is a tragedy for the family and friends of the deceased,” he said.