No Charges in Justus Howell Shooting

The Zion, Illinois police officer who fatally shot a Black 17-year-old in the back last month will not face criminal charges.

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim made the announcement Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Nerheim says he came to the conclusion that the officer’s use of force in the April 4 shooting was justified. The prosecutor emphasized that investigators concluded that Howell was armed with a handgun as he ran from police.

The gun was recovered a few feet from his body.


Nerheim also stated that an analysis of Howell’s wounds indicated he started turning towards the officer just before being shot.

After the verdict, activists called for murder charges against the officer. Howell’s mother, LaToya Howell, took issue with the prosecutor’s assertion that Howell was turning toward the officer.

“I have seen that video. There is nothing that suggests they should execute my son. His back was turned. He was no threat,” she told the Tribune. “This is not proper policing,” she said. “This is not the end. Justice for Justus.”

Justus Howell’s family says they will continue to advocate for her son and other local youths.