Crime & Courts

Police: Could be months before names of officers involved in fatal shooting released

Kenneth Martell
Kenneth Martell

It could be months before investigators release the names of two Lakemoor police officers involved in a shooting last month that killed an accused murderer on the run from Pennsylvania.

The Lakemoor Police Department has denied a Northwest Herald Freedom of Information Act request seeking police reports along with dash-cam and body camera footage from the incident that happened July 26, when police shot and killed Kenneth E. Martell.

The Lakemoor Police Department has placed the involved officers on paid leave while the investigation is ongoing. The same officers also were required to undergo counseling through services available through the police department.

The department considers video footage of the shooting to be “central evidence” that, if released, could keep potential witnesses from coming forward, according to the denial. Lakemoor police also refused to release police reports associated with the shooting, claiming that personal or graphic information in the documents could “impact” Martell’s family.

The Lake County Major Crime Investigation Task Force is continuing to collect evidence and turn it over to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, which ultimately will determine whether the shooting was justified.

The review process could take months, Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said.

The Crawford County Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Office had issued a warrant for 36-year-old Martell of Meadville, Pennsylvania, for the slaying of 88-year-old Theodore Garver days before the shooting occurred.

On the morning of July 26, a female Lakemoor police officer approached Martell, who was asleep in a car without a front license plate.

An altercation broke out shortly after the officer used her radio to run the plate on the rear of the vehicle, which was backed into a gravel road. Martell pulled a gun on the first officer, and another on a second officer who arrived as backup, police said.

It remains unclear whose gun went off and how many shots were fired.

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