Our Pledge To You

Suburban Chicago

State’s attorney rules Naperville cop was justified in January shooting

1200 block of West Ogden Avenue in Naperville | Google Maps

An investigation has cleared a Naperville police officer of wrongdoing in the shooting of a man who allegedly pointed a pellet gun at him earlier this year in the west suburb.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement Wednesday that the officer was justified in shooting Zachery Kelley on Jan. 23 and that no criminal charges would be filed against the officer.

“In my opinion, the officer involved in this unfortunate incident made every attempt to reach a peaceful conclusion under very stressful conditions,” Berlin said in the statement. “His show of concern and compassion for Mr. Kelly and for the safety and well-being of his fellow officers is a testament to the excellent training that the Naperville Police Department provides for their entire force.”

About 10:15 p.m. on Jan. 23, the officer who shot Kelley responded to a 911 call from a Naperville apartment and learned that Kelley had left the building after an argument with his girlfriend, prosecutors said. At 10:36 p.m., police responded to a call of a man harassing a woman at a Mobil gas station at 1280 W. Ogden Ave.

Officers found 27-year-old Kelley a short time later in the parking lot of a strip mall next to the gas station, according to the state’s attorney’s office. He was crying and holding what appeared to be a gun.

Police repeatedly told Kelley to drop the gun as he held it to his head and said his life was over, prosecutors said. He then pointed the pellet gun at one of the officers, who thought it was real and fired at Kelley multiple times, hitting him in the right shoulder and left knee.

Zachery Kelley | DuPage county sheriff’s office

Officers “tended to Kelley’s injury” before he was taken to a hospital in serious condition, according to prosecutors and a statement from Naperville police after the shooting. The weapon, which was recovered at the scene, was later found to be a pellet gun.

After being released from the hospital on Feb. 1, Kelley was taken to the DuPage County jail and charged with three counts of aggravated assault to a police office, prosecutors said.

Kelley remains at the DuPage County Jail on $100,000 bail, according to DuPage County sheriff’s office records. His next court date was scheduled for May 13.

Read more on crime, and track the city’s homicides.