Boy, 15, wrongly accused of shooting store clerk in Waukegan says police offered him McDonald’s in exchange for confession

Police say the subject of the inset photo shot an employee working at Dollar General, 2613 Grand Avenue in Waukegan, on February 4, 2022. | Photo: Joe Shuman/J. Shuman Photography (2022)

The 15-year-old boy who was wrongfully accused of shooting a Dollar General employee in Waukegan says police offered him McDonald’s in exchange for a confession.

Martell Williams, 15, was arrested Wednesday and wrongfully charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault in connection with a February 4 shooting at Dollar General, 2613 Grand Avenue in Waukegan.

Police said public information led directly to the arrest.

He was transported to the Robert W. Depke Juvenile Complex Center in Vernon Hills.

Detectives checked on Williams’ whereabouts on Friday the night of the shooting, Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Joe Florip said.

Florip said the police department immediately cleared the teen as a suspect in the case and he was released Friday morning and cleared of all charges.

Williams, who is a freshman at Waukegan High School and a basketball player, was attending an away game at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, ABC7 Chicago and CBS Chicago reported.

During school, a dean took Williams to the office where he was met by two police officers.

“And once I reached their office, there were only two policemen and as soon as I walked in, they didn’t say anything to me or say anything. They just said, ‘you’re under arrest,” Williams said.

A Snapchat screenshot confirmed that Williams was attending the basketball game at the time of the shooting.

“The officer said several people came up to him and said it was me,” Williams said.

Williams said police kept asking her the same question and offered her McDonald’s in exchange for a confession, CBS Chicago reported.

“It’s true that he bribed me with McDonald’s and kept trying to get a confession,” Williams said.

“He didn’t even know there had been a shooting. He just said, ‘Hey, it wasn’t your fault. You were defending yourself, you know. Go ahead and say you were there and we’ll let you go home,” said Kevin O’Connor, Williams’ attorney.

O’Connor said Williams’ file has been expunged but is seeking a public apology from authorities, ABC7 reported.

In a statement released Monday, the Waukegan Police Department said the city is reviewing the matter but could not yet provide further public comment.

“The City has been in contact with the minor’s family and his lawyer. The City will continue to communicate and provide information to the family’s attorney as it gathers the facts and circumstances that led to this situation,” the police department said.

Police are still looking for the suspect in the case, who is wanted in connection with the shooting.

Police say the subject of these surveillance photos shot an employee working at Dollar General, 2613 Grand Avenue in Waukegan, on February 4, 2022. | Photos provided

The victim’s father told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that his 19-year-old son was working as a clerk at the store at the time of the shooting.

He said his son noticed someone shoplifting in the store and asked him to leave.

“Things got out of hand. The guy came out and pulled out a gun and fired,” said the victim’s father, who did not want to be publicly identified.

The victim, who is a Waukegan resident, was shot in the face near his eye as he attempted to close the store’s front door.

Paramedics transported the man to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for treatment of serious facial injuries. He was then transferred to another hospital for surgery.

The 19-year-old has since been released from hospital. “[He’s] doing pretty well for being shot in the head,” the victim’s father said earlier this month.

Police are investigating a shooting at Dollar General, 2613 Grand Avenue in Waukegan, which left one person injured on February 4, 2022. | Photo: Joe Shuman/J. Shuman Photography (2022)

The man’s sister, Crystal Padilla, said her brother would need further surgery to get his eye moving forward.

“Elvis is a very discreet person who doesn’t bother anyone. He was simply and sadly presented with a person without humanity or compassion,” Padilla said.

“My mum and all his relatives are doing the best they can with the support he needs and we are asking for all the help anyone would like to give with any accommodation he will need from now on with medical bills, therapy, care at home, etc Padilla said in a GoFundMe post.

The GoFundMe account raised $10,000 Monday night.

“God saved his life and now we are here to help him live the best version of it possible,” Padilla said.