UPDATE: Officers Justified in October Shooting Death

By: Tina Stein, Meghan Dwyer, Lauren Kravets Email
By: Tina Stein, Meghan Dwyer, Lauren Kravets Email

Press Release from Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office:

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced today that the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force has completed its investigation into the October 11, 2012 shooting involving Rockford Police Officers Andre Brass, Phillip Statler and Jeremiah Cizerle. This investigation has centered on determining the events that resulted in the death of Logan Bell. Investigators of the Integrity Task Force, delivered the results of the investigation to the Office of the State’s Attorney.

The Office of the State’s Attorney will now begin to review the investigation. Once a review of the investigation is complete a final determination will be made on whether to present the case to a Winnebago County Grand Jury, as each case must be individually evaluated before finalizing the decision to proceed to the Grand Jury.
At this point no specific time table has been set for reaching the decision on presentation to the Grand Jury. A review of any investigation must be thorough, and also must allow for the possibility of follow-up investigation. Should the need arise for follow-up investigation, those matters would continue to be handled by the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force.

Every effort will continue to be made to keep the public informed as the process continues. Providing the public with relevant and timely information, without compromising the investigation, is important to the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force and the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office.

For further information please contact the Winnebago County State’ Attorney’s Office at 815-319-4700.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A Winnebago County Grand Jury has ruled police did what they had to back in October when they shot and killed 18-year-old Logan Bell in a field on south Central Avenue.

Those three officers shot Logan Bell a total of 16 times when he refused to drop his weapon and started shooting at Rockford Police Sergeant Andre Brass. It turned out he was shooting a bb gun, but as Bruscato pointed out in the press conference called this afternoon, it looks and sounds like the real thing. State Police bought the same type of BB gun to test it out as part of the investigation.

It turns out at the time of the shooting, Bell, who had stopped taking his medicine for bipolar disorder -- actually wanted police to kill him. Medical experts who looked into the case call it suicide by a cop, getting police to kill you so you don't have to do it yourself. Police say Bell shouted “Shoot me. Shoot me. You're going to have to shoot me. I'm not going to drop the gun."

"The noise of the weapon, the discharge of the gases, the appearance of the weapon, in the estimation of Robert Hunt, who reviewed this, said it would have been impossible for any officer in that moment in that situation to distinguish this to be anything other than a genuine weapon, firing and discharging bullets," said Bruscato.

No officers were actually hit with BB’s during the incident, but at one point one officer tripped and fell down and all of the other officers at the scene thought he had been shot by a real bullet. There were a total of five officers on the scene that day, only three took shots. The other two were from the Rockford Park District and they were protecting nearby residents.

The officers should be back on the job in the next few days. They have been on paid administrative leave since October. The Rockford Police Department also did their own internal investigation of this incident and they found the officers did follow proper policy.


UPDATE: A press conference was held by Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato who announced the findings of the investigation in the officer-involved death of Logan Bell. The investigation came to the opinion that Logan Bell died as a result of "suicide by cop." The 3 officers involved in the shooting have been ruled justified in their use of force in the shooting death of Logan Bell last October.

We will have complete coverage tonight on 23 News at 5, 6, and 10.


UPDATE: The Winnebago County Integrity Task Force has completed its investigation in the officer-involved shooting of 18-year-old Logan Bell.

The Task Force turned over its findings to the State's Attorney.

Winnebago County State's Attorney, Joe Bruscato will be the one to determine if a grand jury will be summoned.

A time-line has not been given for that decision.


UPDATE: The Rockford teen shot and killed by local police officers has been laid to rest.

Family and friends gathered at Pilgrim Baptist Church this morning to pay their respects to 18 year old Logan Bell.

Bell was shot and killed last Thursday when police say he repeatedly refused to lower a pellet gun aimed at several officers. The Winnebago County Integrity Task Force is investigating the shooting.


UPDATE -- We've learned all three officers involved in yesterday's fatal shooting fired their weapons. Their shots killed 18-year-old Logan Bell.

The life of Logan Bell came to an end in the 1800 block of South Central Avenue, and now we're learning more about how he was killed.

"Mr. Bell with the weapon in his hand was given several commands by the police officers to drop the weapon. Mr Bell failed to comply, at one point he raised his weapon towards the Rockford officers, the three officers then discharged their weapon shot at Mr. Bell, killing him," said Kurt Cavanaugh with the Illinois State Police.

All three officers shot Bell, but authorities aren't saying how many times. That's after family members called 911 saying they were worried bell might kill himself with a gun. It turns out it was a pellet gun.

"The pistol was black in color, it had no other markings, no orange markings to indicate it was nothing but a real weapon," Cavanaugh said.

Reverend Dr. Kenneth Board knew Bell and his family since they attended his church. Board says he just wants answers as quickly as possible.

"We need to handle this expediently. Our church, that Logan was a member of that his grandparents were a member of, we're hurting, this shooting took place on our church property. We're very devastated by this. As a pastor my heart is broken but as a community leader I'm seeking understanding,” said Board.

The names of the three officers were just released. They are Sergeant Andre Brass and Officers Phillip Statler and Jeremiah Cizerle. All three have been with the department for quite some time and are now on administrative leave. It's unclear whether or not any of them have been involved in previous shootings.

The next steps in the investigation include a criminal investigation which the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force is conducting. After that, the Rockford Police Department will do their own internal investigation. After both are done, it will go to the Winnebago County's State's Attorney's office to decide whether to present the case to a grand jury. They will ultimately determine whether or not these officers were justified in this shooting.


UPDATE -- Rockford police have identified the teenager shot and killed yesterday afternoon as 18-year-old Logan Bell.

We're told Bell was armed with a pellet gun.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- "I heard shots, bang, bang, bang bag, about ten," said neighbor Eloise Davis.

Those shots were fired by Rockford Police. They were called to Central and Michigan to help find a young man whose relatives were concerned would hurt himself.

"A foot chase ensued and the suspect we were looking for pulled out a handgun and he was apprehended by Rockford officers who shot and killed this individual," says Chief Chet Epperson.

Three officers were involved in the fatal shooting of that 18 year old. But it's unclear whether all three fired their weapons.

"I saw them cover him up, it was awful, tears start coming," says Davis.

The Rockford chapter President of the NAACP says the teen had mental health issues. And it's now protocol for his organization to respond when a minority is involved in a police shooting.

"His family was concerned about his well being him being a threat to himself than anyone else. So what transpired as a result of that call being made is a young man dead and we don't know as of yet, what measures could have taken place to prevent this," says NAACP Rockford President Lloyd Johnston.

Authorities aren't saying where the victim was shot or how many times. His identity will be released once his parents are notified.

More information is expected to be released tomorrow during a news conference with Rockford Police and the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force. The Task Force is now handling the investigation.

From earlier....

Around 2pm this afternoon, officers were called to Central and Michigan in reference to a subject with a gun.

Shots were fired and officers are now on scene. Please avoid area due to it being blocked off.

We're told that a teenager is dead. It's unclear what exactly happened at this time.

We have confirmed that the Winnebago County Integrity Task Force will be handling the investigation. In the past, the task force has been used to look into officer-involved shootings.

The Winnebago County Task Force was created back in 2009 after the Mark Anthony Barmoore shooting.

Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson activated the task force this afternoon, right after the shooting happened. That's very different from what happened in 2009 when police were criticized for waiting too long to get other police agencies involved.

It's goal is to investigate any police shooting that uses deadly force and determine whether the proper procedures were used. The task force is made up of 34 police officers from different police departments all over the county. They will make a decision about whether the three officers who were involved followed the proper procedures.

After the task force makes its finding, they will forward a report to the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office and the State's Attorney will make a decision about whether the officers will face legal charges.

There's no telling how long the process will last. In the past, these investigations have lasted months. They will take their time and try to figure out everything that went down here today.

We will update you on the case as more information becomes available.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
23 WIFR 2523 North Meridian Road Rockford, IL. 61101 Business: 815-987-5300 Fax: 815-965-0981 News: 815-987-5330 Fax: 815-987-5333
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 173768331 - wifr.com/a?a=173768331
Gray Television, Inc.