Young burglary suspect hurt in Westmont police shooting after getaway car almost hits cop: officials

Westmont shooting: Juvenile shot, another suspect grazed after officer fires shots; 3 charged in incident
WESTMONT, Ill. (WLS) -- A young burglary suspect was shot and another grazed by a Westmont police officer Friday morning, law enforcement officials said.

Westmont police responded just before 4:30 a.m. Friday to a BMW dealership in the 400-block of East Ogden Avenue after it was reported that suspects had broken into the facility, police said.

When two officers arrived, they parked in front of a white Acura and reportedly saw two suspects, later identified as Angel Martin, 23, of Dolton and a juvenile, fleeing the dealership and getting into the Acura, which already had two passengers.

Police later said Martin and the juvenile had tried to gain access to the building using a pry bar but eventually broke a window with a rock to get inside.

When the officers told the four suspects to stop and get out of the car, they reportedly tried to drive away in the Acura.

While driving away, the car drove at one of the uniformed Westmont police officers, police said. The officer then fired shots at the vehicle, hitting the juvenile in the chest and grazing Martin.

The officer had to run out of the car's path to avoid being hit, police said.

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The car continued to try to leave the dealership, hitting a curb and a cement parking block, damaging the vehicle.

It then went east on Ogden before exiting north on Route 83. North of 22nd Street in Oak Brook, the damaged car lost control and crashed in a ditch.

The four suspects tried to run away from the car, but were apprehended by various law enforcement agencies, police said.

The white Acura was recently stolen from Lake County, Illinois, according to Westmont police, and three guns were recovered from inside the vehicle, with another firearm recovered outside the driver's side door.

"No officer wants to be put in the situation where they are forced to fire their service weapon in performance of their duty," Westmont Police Chief Jim Gunther said. "Unfortunately, that is what happened in this case. I thank our responding officers involved in this matter for their professionalism and we are all very thankful that they were unharmed.

DuPage County officials said Saturday that bond was set for three of the four suspects. Martin; Semaje Wheeler, 18, of Chicago; and Brian Garrett, 19, of Chicago were charged in the incident.

Martin's bond was set at $1 million and the amount for Wheeler and Garrett was set at $750,000.

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All three men were charged with armed violence, burglary and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

They are next due in court Jan. 24. Each defendant faces a possible sentence of between 15 to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if found guilty of the Class X Armed Violence charge.

The juvenile is currently in the hospital and will appear in court upon release.

All injuries suffered in the incident are believed to be non-life threatening, police said.

"It appears that as we enter a new year, the epidemic of car thefts shows no signs of slowing down," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said. "I caution any would-be car thieves that in DuPage County, this type of behavior will most certainly not be tolerated and if you commit such a crime here you will be quickly apprehended, charged and face an aggressive prosecution, regardless of age.

The two officers involved have been temporarily assigned to paid administrative leave while there is a review of the incident, per Westmont police protocol.

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