He was shot three times in the back.
Zion police say they recovered a BB gun from the scene.
But they never said anything about him pointing it at the cops nor if the cops even noticed he had the gun until after they killed him.
Instead, they focused on the fact that he was taking photos of a school, making him out to be a potential mass shooter.
Zion police officers responded to a report that a suspicious person was taking photographs of two schools just after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at 22nd Street and Bethesda Boulevard, police said.
Sheriff’s Detective Christopher Covelli said there was a “brief interaction” between Hollstein and Zion police before a chase began, but Covelli declined to comment on what was said.
“It appeared the offender was wearing body armor. After the foot pursuit, a struggle with the offender and officers ensued, which resulted in the offender being shot,” a statement from the task force read.
Covelli said what police initially believed to be body armor was a homemade tactical-style vest with metal inserts. Officers recovered an Airsoft BB gun from the scene of the shooting, an alley behind the 1800 block of Ezekiel Avenue.
Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said Hollstein died of three gunshot wounds to his upper left back, with bullets striking his ribs, spine and both lungs. There was no evidence the shots were fired at close range and no other signs of a struggle, Rudd said.
The task force is still looking into why Hollstein was taking photos at the school, carrying the BB gun and wearing the homemade vest, Covelli said.
His roommate told the Tribune that he did not even know Hollstein owned a BB gun.
Gary Zilm, 40, said he’s been Hollstein’s roommate since June at the Forest Glen Apartments in Zion.
“He was a very understanding, respectful, quiet, very reasonable guy,” Zilm said.
“I didn’t even know he had a BB gun,” he added. “I was surprised when I heard.”
The names of the two Zion police officers who killed him have not been released. They have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Hollstein’s father told the media that his son suffered from schizophrenia but appeared to be forgiving of the cops because of Sandy Hook.
“He made a mistake by going over to that school,” Carl Hollstein said. “He never used the best judgment.”
Hollstein said he didn’t blame officers in his son’s death. Police only have “half a second” to decide what to do in a confrontation, he said.
“The police don’t want to get shot either,” he said. “I can understand that.”
Hollstein also acknowledged officers and school officials “don’t want another Sandy Hook,” referring to the infamous 2012 school shooting in Connecticut that left 27 people dead.