Woman Armed With Knife Fatally Shot By Elgin Police After Attempted Traffic Stop

Bernie Tafoya
March 12, 2018 - 6:58 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Elgin police say a woman is dead after a stand-off with police on the Jane Addams Tollway early Monday morning.  State police said the tollway was shutdown westbound at Route 25 for about eight hours, until almost 9 a.m., as police conducted an investigation.

Elgin Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda said police tried to stop the 34-year-old woman "in a suspicious vehicle" shortly after 12:30 a.m. Monday on Cedar Avenue during a traffic stop. There was a brief chase that police said was cut off after speeds became too high. The Chief said a short time later officers spotted the woman's vehicle on westbound Jane Addams Tollway near Route 25 "with obvious signs of damage."

"Elgin officers made contact with the subject and observed she was armed with a knife. Officers then disengaged immediately and proceeded to negotiate with her for over an hour," he said. "Usually we can get them to work with us, but in this case, that obviously did not happen. So we are working through exactly what was said, but we are not going to be able to speculate what she was thinking at the time." 

Chief Swoboda said it was only after officers saw flames coming from inside the vehicle that they moved in to try to pull out the woman.

At some point, Chief Swoboda said, there was some kind of exchange as police were moving in and one officer opened fire, hitting the woman. 

The driver, Decynthia S. Clements, 34, was taken to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates where she was pronounced dead. She lived in Elgin.

The chief said, "on a personal note, I want to express my condolences to the family."

The officer involved in this shooting has been identified as 19-year department veteran and current SWAT team member Lieutenant Christian Jensen. He has received 22 commendations and/or awards between the years of 2002-2017, inclusive of the 2014 Manager of the Year.

Elgin Police said a direct line of communication has been provided to the family of the shooting victim, including meeting with them, to ensure accessibility to department resources and information.

Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting and Lt. Jensen has been put on paid leave. Chief Swoboda said officers involved were wearing body cameras, but video had not yet been downloaded as of Monday morning.