Waukegan police fatally shoot teen

August 14, 2008 8:54:30 PM PDT
The father of a teenager shot and killed by Waukegan police is appealing for calm.Some relatives of the teenager say police overreacted by shooting him multiple times. But authorities say the teen attacked an officer.

There was an emotional candlelight vigil Thursday night to remember the life of 17-year-old Waukegan High School student Jeffrey Lewis.

He was shot to death Wednesday afternoon by a Waukegan police officer in front of his home. Lewis was in a heated argument with his older brother. Police were called to the scene. According to police and eye witness reports, when officers responded - Lewis attacked one of the officers with a hammer. The other officer then shot Lewis six times.

Family members say the use of deadly force was unnecessary. Now they are demanding answers.

"There was a dispute, but they did not have to take his life, but they did not have to shoot and kill," said Christine Little, aunt.

Waukegan police are defending the action of the two police officers. The chief of police says it appears deadly force was necessary.

"They had to make that split second decision," said William Biang, Waukegan Chief of Police. "The officer felt he was protecting his fellow officer."

The police chief and city officials held a news conference to ask the community to remain calm and to support the Lewis family. Curtis Lewis, the teen's father, appeared with the police chief to speak to reporters.

"Just calm down, let the investigation run its course, we'll get through this," Curtis Lewis said.

Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is finished.


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