A vehicle pursuit that began in south suburban Chicago on Thursday morning ended in a fatal police shooting outside a gas station in Dyer, according to authorities.

The man who allegedly led police in the pursuit across the state line was identified as 33-year-old Mark Coffey, of Chicago Heights, in a news release sent out early Thursday evening by the Lake County coroner's office.

Coffey sustained gunshot wounds, but the manner of death is still pending investigation, the release stated.

Master Trooper Glen Fifield of the Indiana State Police updated information about the case Thursday afternoon at a news conference attended by law enforcement officials from Illinois and Indiana.

Four law enforcement officers from three police departments in Lake County are on paid administrative leave pending a state police investigation into the shooting, according to Fifield. 

The vehicle pursuit was initiated at about 4:55 a.m. by police in Crete, Illinois, after officers spotted a vehicle in the village that was previously reported stolen, Crete Police Chief James Paoletti said at the news conference. 

Sauk Village Police Chief Robert Kowalski said in an interview the Crete police pursuit continued into his village, with the suspect vehicle weaving in and out of neighborhoods before fleeing across the state line.

Kowalski said the driver then looped back toward Sauk Village, where Coffey allegedly ditched the original vehicle and stole a second one.

Paoletti said at the news conference Coffey had keys for the vehicle, and believed the suspect stashed it in the neighborhood. 

Kowalski said the suspect hit a pedestrian with the new vehicle near the intersection of Sauk Trail and Jeffrey Avenue. The pedestrian was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and Kowalski said he was uncertain of the person's condition.

Kowalski said his department was not involved in the pursuit.

Fifield said at a news conference Thursday morning the Dyer Police Department got a call for assistance at 5:38 a.m. 

The suspect vehicle was next located by Indiana law enforcement in the 9300 block of Sheffield Avenue, Fifield said, and the pursuit continued to 81st and Sheffield avenues, where the suspect's vehicle struck another vehicle outside a BP gas station. 

"There was a confrontation between the suspect and the officers involving multiple gunshots being fired," Fifield said. "As a result, the suspect is deceased." 

The master trooper said, given the hit-and-run in Sauk Village, it was clear the man was a "dangerous person," but he declined to comment on whether a weapon was found in the stolen vehicle. 

Fifield said the man, later identified as Coffey, had an active warrant for armed robbery and burglary at the time of his death, and he was found in his vehicle wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet issued by the Illinois Department of Corrections. 

Paoletti said he did not believe his officers made a mistake by not canceling the pursuit sooner, despite the injured pedestrian. 

"We have certain parameters we look at when we determine whether a vehicle pursuit should continue or be canceled, and I would say the parameters were not met to reach the point of canceling," he said. 

The suspect vehicle was parked in the morning in the north lane of Sheffield Avenue, located a few feet from a Dyer town welcome sign and cordoned off with police tape. 

Cassandra Kmak, who lives in a neighborhood near the shooting, said she and her husband were awake at 5:30 a.m. when she heard what sounded like firecrackers outside their home.

Kmak said she did not realize there was a shooting until they heard about it on the morning news. She said she looked out her upstairs window and realized police were swarming Sheffield Avenue.

“I've never seen so many police,” she said.

The police agencies involved in the shooting were the Lake County Sheriff's Department, Dyer Police Department and St. John Police Department, according to Fifield. One officer each from the sheriff's department and Dyer Police Department were placed on paid administrative leave. Two officers from St. John are also on paid leave. 

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community. Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.

Angry
38
Sad
16
Funny
15
Wow
20
Love
24

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.