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Family Works Toward Healing, Calls For Justice Days After Waukegan Police Shooting Killed Marcellis Stinnette

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) -- New details were emerging Sunday night about two people who were shot by police earlier this week in Waukegan.

Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was killed in the shooting late this past Tuesday night. His girlfriend, Tafara Williams, was struggling to recover as the investigation into what happened moves forward.

As CBS 2's Jeremy Ross reported, one family is also forming new bonds in the wake of the shooting.

A vigil helped the healing during the lingering loss of a deadly police shooting.

Police said at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday, an officer was investigating a vehicle with two people inside at Liberty and Oak streets in Waukegan, when its driver drove off.

Moments later, another officer spotted the car a few blocks away near Martin Luther King Jr. and South avenues. While that second officer was out of his vehicle approaching the suspect car, it began to reverse, police said.

The officer fired his semi-automatic pistol and struck both Stinnette, who was the passenger, and Williams, who was driving. Williams survived the shooting, but Stinnette was pronounced dead at Vista Medical Center East.

Marcellis Stinnette
Marcellis Stinnette (Credit: Legal Help Firm)

That officer was fired on Friday for "multiple policy and procedure violations," in what the family called a step toward justice.

"The officer has been terminated. It hasn't even been seven days," said Stinnette's cousin, Satrese Stallworth. "Don't tear up. Don't get indignified. Don't destroy, because guess what – they're being held accountable, and they're already making progress in our favor."

"We're praying for each other and everybody involved in this terrible incident will help us heal and move forward," said Waukegan police Chief Wayne Walles.

"I'm standing in solidarity with these families," another man said at the vigil. "We can't keep going through this no more."

"Don't let nobody turn you away from each other," another man said.

Loved ones of George Floyd – who died at the hands of police in Minnesota, and Jacob Blake – who was shot and wounded by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin – joined the Stinnette family during the gathering of grief.

A Stinnette family representative said the families bonded over the shared concerns about police use of force.

Another video of that force – both dashcam and body footage – will be shown to the family soon, before it is shared with the public. But it is unclear exactly when that will happen.

Meanwhile, Williams spoke with us off camera while in the hospital. She said she is able to walk and eat food, but it is unclear if she will be able to make a full recovery.

Tafara Williams
Tafara Williams (via Facebook)

She described Stinnette as a kind and loving dad of a young son; someone who would give you the shirt off his back.

Family said Stinnette moved to Illinois from Florida back in 2018 in search of a fresh start. Now, part of his family is heading up from Florida to Waukegan in search of comfort and answers.

A family representative said no funeral plans have been made yet. But they have plans to memorialize Stinnette both in Waukegan and in his native Jacksonville, Florida.

The FBI is also involved in the investigation. One question family members continue to ask – was a second officer involved in the shooting? They hope to get answers as the investigation continues.

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