A Cook County juvenile was found guilty Tuesday of all charges including burglary and assaulting a police officer stemming from an incident at a Westmont BMW dealership in December 2021 that involved an officer discharging his service weapon.
The guilty verdict was handed down by DuPage County Judge Anthony Coco following a two-day bench trial. On Jan. 11, 2021, the juvenile appeared at a detention hearing where Coco ordered he be detained. He has remained in custody since that time.
In all, the juvenile was found guilty of two counts of armed violence and one each of burglary, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, aggravated assault with a motor vehicle and aggravated assault on a police officer, according to DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office news release .
The juvenile was one of four individuals charged in the case. The cases against the juvenile’s co-defendants, Angel Martin, 24, of Dolton; Semaje Wheeler, 19, of Chicago; and Brian Garrett, 19, also of Chicago, are pending. Martin, Wheeler and Garrett have all been charged with eight counts of armed violence, one count of burglary and one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, the release stated.
On Dec 31, 2021, at approximately 4:27 am, Westmont police received information of a burglary in progress at Laurel BMW located on Ogden Avenue. Two officers responded to the call and upon their arrival allegedly encountered two individuals, later identified as the juvenile and Martin, exiting the showroom and entering a white Acura with two occupants, later identified as Wheeler and Garrett, according to the release.
After arriving at the dealership, the juvenile and Martin, armed with a pry bar, allegedly attempted to enter the building on the east side, but were unsuccessful. The two then joined Wheeler and Garrett in the Acura, drove to the west side of the building, exited the vehicle again and attempted to gain entry to the building with the pry bar, the release stated.
Martin eventually grabbed a landscaping rock and threw it through a pane of glass in the garage bay door. The juvenile and Martin then entered the building through the broken window. Once alerted to the arrival of the police, the two suspects exited the building and entered the Acura to flee.
Police, however, had blocked the driveway with their squad car. Officers exited their squad car and as the Acura attempted to flee, drew their weapons and ordered the offenders to stop and exit the car. The defendants attempted to flee in the Acura, which was driven by the juvenile, by driving directly at one of the uniformed officers, at which time the officer discharged his weapon, striking the juvenile in the chest and grazing Martin, who was seated in the front passenger seat, the release stated.
As the vehicle approached, the officer ran out of the path of the Acura and used his free hand to push off the vehicle to avoid injury. The vehicle then fled east on Ogden Avenue to northbound Route 83. Near 22nd Street in Oak Brook, the vehicle crashed into a ditch and the four occupants fled on foot. All four suspects were apprehended a short time later.
The juvenile, who was the driver of the vehicle, was taken to a hospital for medical attention where he remained until Jan. 10, when he was discharged into the custody of authorities. It was later determined that the Acura had been stolen on Dec. 21, 2021, out of Lake County.
When processing the scene, officers located three firearms inside the Acura: a Glock 23 40 caliber with an extended magazine, a Poly 80 gun with a round in the chamber and a Glock 17 9mm with a fully loaded 24-round magazine. Officers also found a Glock 19 with an extended magazine just outside the Acura near the driver’s side door. Three of the firearms appeared to have switches which could render the firearms fully automatic. Inside the vehicle, officers also found a 50-round drum magazine that was nearly full, 28 key fobs for various automobiles and two pry bars.
“Judge Coco’s finding of guilty on all charges send a clear message that the type of violent behavior exhibited by the defendant in this case will not be tolerated in DuPage County,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the release. “The fact that the defendant is a juvenile will not deter law enforcement from protecting the public and will not deter my office from aggressively prosecuting anyone accused of such violent behavior.”