Justus Howell’s family is trying vainly to assert that the young man shot twice by Zion, Illinois police was a good kid with dreams of becoming a surgeon.
That illusion is taking a beating, now that police have revealed that Howell allegedly stole the weapon that was in his possession at the time of his shooting via strong-arm robbery just moments before police arrived.
A Waukegan teenager had just stolen a handgun from another man [Tramond Peet] when he was shot and killed by Zion police during a foot chase, authorities said late Monday.
The man told police he had arranged to meet with 17-year-old Justus Howell in Zion on Saturday afternoon to sell him the weapon, officials said. But then Howell tried to take the gun from him without paying for it and the two struggled over the weapon before Howell fled with the weapon when police showed up, according to a news release from Zion police.
In other words, Howell attempted to illegally take possession (via strong-arm robbery) of what is likely a stolen weapon while underage. He was then allegedly dumb enough to brandish the weapon, instead of immediately dropping it when police arrived.
Howell then attempted to evade arrest, still brandishing the weapon, when officers made a judgement call and shot him twice as he attempted to escape, killing him.
According to the fleeing felon rule, which allows law enforcement officers to use lethal force against felony suspects, this appears to be a “good shoot.”
A police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead…however…Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.—Justice Byron White, Tennessee v. Garner