Nerheim: Officers involved in fatal Beach Park shootout acted 'appropriately'
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said Friday that two officers working with the U.S. Marshals Service acted "reasonably and appropriately" when using deadly force during a June 16 confrontation with an armed fugitive outside a Beach Park house.
The confrontation happened after the vehicle belonging to Brandon Gardner, a 24-year-old Beach Park man who was wanted on a warrant for first-degree murder, was spotted in the driveway of a home on the 38000 block of Green Bay Road.
When the two officers approached the vehicle, Gardener opened the passenger's-side door, swung his legs out, pointed a handgun at the police and fired multiple rounds in their direction, according to a news release issued by Nerheim's office Friday.
The officers, whose identities were not released by the state's attorney's office, returned fire and struck Gardner twice. Gardner first was treated at the scene and then was rushed to Vista East Hospital in Waukegan, where he was pronounced dead.
One of the officers received a cut on his arm but neither was shot, according to officials at the time.
"The members who serve on this task force deal with some of the most treacherous situations a police officer can ever face and apprehend the most dangerous of offenders," Nerheim said in the release. "It was the quick reaction and training of these officers -- along with a good bit of luck -- that prevented this tragic situation from becoming even worse."
At the time, a spokesman for the Lake County sheriff's office said one of the officers who fired on Gardner was a Lake County sheriff's deputy and the other was with the McHenry County sheriff's office.
The Lake County sheriff's deputy was a 10-year veteran of the office at the time, and the McHenry County sheriff's deputy was an 11-year veteran at the time.
A redacted version of the full investigation can be found on the state's attorney's website.