Teen car thieves met with gunfire, killing 1 before high-speed chase, Illinois cops say

A car theft gone wrong left a 14-year-old dead and five teens charged with his murder in Illinois, police say.

A 75-year-old Chicago man said he noticed a black Lexus SUV in his driveway and a group of people trying to break into his car early Tuesday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

He told police two men approached him when they noticed him standing on his porch and that “one of them was holding something in his hand,” according to the news outlet. The man, who had a valid concealed-carry license, fired at least three rounds, hitting one of them — a 14-year-old boy — in the head, police say. The man immediately called 911 to report the shooting, the Sun-Times reported.

But police say the group of six teens, including the injured 14-year-old, got back in the Lexus and left the scene, WBBM reported. A short time later, the Lexus approached police who were investigating a traffic crash nearby.

A 17-year-old boy helped the injured 14-year-old out of the car, telling police the boy needed help, according to the news outlet. He later died. The four teens still in the Lexus fled the scene, police say, and the 17-year-old was arrested on-site, WBBM reported.

Police say the Lexus, which had been stolen just days before, led police on a more than 40 mile high-speed chase through Chicago reaching speeds of more than 100 mph, WLS-TV reported. The chase came to an end when the car ran out of gas.

Police caught up with the four remaining suspects — a 16-year-old boy, two 17-year-old boys and an 18-year-old woman — on foot, ultimately arresting them and taking them into custody, the news outlet reported.

All five were initially charged as adults with first-degree murder “because a 14-year-old boy died of gunshot wounds sustained during the commission of a forcible felony,” the sheriff’s office said, according to WLS-TV.

The murder charge has since been dropped against all five, Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said in a press release on Thursday.

The four juveniles will be moved to juvenile court and the woman, 18, will be charged with class four felony of conspiracy to commit burglary and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a motor vehicle, the release said.

“After full consideration of all the evidence, mitigation presented by defense counsel as well as the wishes of the victim’s family, my office has entered into an agreement with defense counsel for the five offenders,” Nerheim said in the release. “This agreement ensures all offenders will be held responsible and face appropriate sentences.”

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Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.