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Coroner Says Illinois Teen Was Shot Twice In The Back By Police

An autopsy has found that a Zion, Ill., teenager who was killed by police over the weekend was twice shot in the back.

According to NBC Chicago, police were called to the scene because of an argument or a fight. Police said when they arrived, Justus Howell, 17, ran.

NBC Chicago reports:

"Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd on Monday afternoon said Howell was shot twice in the back. One bullet pierced his liver, spleen and heart. A second bullet hit him in the right shoulder, Thomas Rudd said.

"Officers attempted to administer medical aid, and Howell was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police said a handgun was recovered at the scene of the shooting, but at least one witness disputed that.

"'It says at the scene they found a gun, but they don't say anything about him holding a gun so why did they shoot him?' Zion resident Lisa Foster told NBC Chicago. 'Why couldn't they just chase him and try to catch him?'"

The boy's family told The Chicago Sun-Timesthat Howell was about to celebrate his 18th birthday this summer.

"Justus was a baby in the eyes of many," Howell's great aunt, LaDonnia Gilmore, told the Sun-Times. "There are more babies dying than seniors. They don't even have a chance to carry out their careers. We want to make a statement that the police brutality must decrease."

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Lake County Major Crime Task Force is investigating the incident, but there is no word on the name of the officer involved nor whether the officer has been placed on leave.

Jennifer Witherspoon, president of the Lake County NAACP branch, told the paper it hopes the "matter will be resolved fairly and swiftly and that the truth will come out."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.