Woman killed in police-involved shooting on I-90 in Elgin ID'd

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Authorities have released the identity of the woman shot and killed by Elgin police on I-90 Monday morning.

Investigators picked through a burned-out Buick stopped on the Jane Addams Tollway. Elgin police said one of its officers shot and killed a knife-wielding woman who set the car on fire.

The victim was identified as DeCynthia Clements of Elgin. Her family has many questions about her death, but said police are providing few answers.

"I have no ill feelings towards the police, but when everything comes to light, I hope this don't get swept under the rug," said her brother Chevelle Clements.

Police attempted to pull Clements over at about 12:34 a.m. Monday near Cedar Avenue for unknown reasons.

"Officers attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle in which the vehicle did not stop. Officers then terminated the pursuit," said Elgin Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda.

A short time later, police said Clements' car was spotted on westbound I-90 near Route 25. The car was stopped and damaged. Police approached Clements and officers said they noticed she had a knife. Police said they backed away and negotiated with her for over an hour.

"During that time she would periodically move her car up several feet. At one point officers noticed that a fire had started inside the vehicle. They approached the burning vehicle in an attempt to pull her out," Swoboda said.

What exactly happened is unclear, but one officer fired shots, hitting Clements. She was transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"There was an exchange that's the part that State Police will be investigating; what occurred that then the officer discharged their firearm," said Swoboda.

The officer who fired shots was identified as SWAT team Lieutenant Christian Jensen. Illinois State Police are leading the investigation and will review footage from the body camera Jensen was wearing at the time of the shooting.

Jensen is a 19-year department veteran with nearly two dozen commendations and awards, including Manager of the Year in 2014. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, per department policy.

The shooting and evidence gathering that followed shut down the westbound lanes of the Jane Addams Tollway for four hours, reopening before 9 a.m.

Clements' family said she posed no threat to anyone and they can't imagine what prompted police to shoot her.

"She's about this tall, probably 100 lbs. soaking wet. It takes a whole squad to take somebody down like that, with a knife? It doesn't make sense," said Melissa Sanders, victim's cousin.

Relatives are awaiting the results of the state police investigation.

"If the officer killed her in righteousness. I could live with that, but there's a lot of loopholes in that story and the things they're putting on TV doesn't add up to her needing to be killed," Chevelle Clements said.

Elgin police offered condolences to Clements' family.

"When we are negotiating with someone, we're just trying to talk with them and have cases end peacefully. We go on thousands of calls a year, many of which we're negotiating with individuals and usually we can get them to work with us, but in this case apparently that obviously didn't happen," Swoboda said.
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