Justus Howell, a 17-year-old Black teen from Waukegan, a town north of Chicago, was killed over Easter Weekend by police in the city of Zion. Howell was shot last Saturday afternoon (April 4) after police say he was allegedly attempting to steal a handgun he was going to purchase.

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, Howell met with an unnamed man in Zion to strike the gun deal. The man says Howell tried to take the gun without paying which led to a fight. Police responded to reports of the altercation and Howell fled with the gun according to an account from Zion police.

More from the Tribune:

The Lake County coroner’s office reported Monday that Howell died from two gunshot wounds to his back. One bullet penetrated his heart, spleen and liver, and the other entered his right shoulder, according to a coroner’s news release on the autopsy.

The Lake County Major Crime Task Force continued to gather evidence and interview witnesses to the shooting, Cmdr. George Filenko said Monday. Zion police said the officer who was involved has been placed on leave while the investigation proceeds. They did not name the officer but said he is 32 and a nine-year department veteran.

The other man police said was involved in the gun transaction, Tramond Peet, 18, of Lindenhurst, was arrested and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, according to the Zion police news release. He appeared at a court hearing Monday in Lake County at which his bond was set at $15,000, police said.

Howell’s uncle says that eyewitnesses claim that his son did not have a weapon on him at the time of the shooting. Howell’s funeral is set for this Friday according to the Tribune and local community activists are gathering this Saturday for a protest. Some are raising concerns over the circumstances which led to Howell’s death, maintain that the killing was malicious in nature.

Photo: Twitter/Family Handout

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