Port Barrington man’s fatal shooting ‘justified’, prosecutor says

Despite having a chemical intoxicant in his system, the actions of a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy were ‘vindicated’ earlier this year when he fatally shot a Port Barrington man whose wife said told police that he was threatening to kill her, the county attorney general said Wednesday.

Deputy Nicholas Arnold shot and killed Nicholas Sebastian, 43, at his home in an early morning gunfight on January 11.

Sebastian’s 41-year-old wife, who later told police that Sebastian acted “like a demon”, was shot in the leg by her husband before Arnold fought back, authorities said.

Arnold did what he had to do “from the perspective of a reasonable officer in the same situation” to save Sebastian’s wife’s life and his own, according to the report.

The report was one of two released Wednesday regarding shootings by McHenry County sheriff’s deputies occurring within months of each other.

The other involving Randall Little, 58, of Harvard, who is charged with attempted first-degree murder of an MP, was also deemed justified.

The Sebastian shooting report offered new insight into what police said before Arnold repeatedly shot Sebastian and killed him.

Two McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputies responded at around 1:10 a.m. on January 11 to Sebastian’s home on the 200 block of Manchester Lane for a domestic violence situation, according to the report.


Sebastian threatened to kill his wife, their two young sons and himself, she told investigators afterwards.

When the police arrived, Sebastian’s wife ran out of the house through the garage and Sebastian, wearing a bulletproof vest and brandishing a handgun, ran after her.

Sebastian began shooting, hitting his wife, who was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police reports and the report released by the state’s attorney’s office.

Arnold retaliated, killing Sebastian. The other deputy who responded with Arnold, Travis Bodway, did not fire any shots.

In a video taken by a dash cam in Bodway’s team, Bodway is “pictured turning on his flashlight and illuminating the garage from the street,” according to the report.

Arnold joined the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office in January 2021, according to a Facebook post regarding his swearing-in. At the time, he was heading to the police academy for training.

The internal investigation into Sebastian’s shooting, conducted by the McHenry County Major Investigations Assistance Team, revealed that Arnold had an intoxicant called DFE, or 1,1-difluoroethane, in his system.

It was unclear whether he inhaled the chemical “before his shift or while on duty,” according to the report.

The chemical is used as a propellant in consumer products such as keyboard cleaners and can be “blown” to achieve an altered mental state and feelings of euphoria, lightheadedness and disorientation.

Citing forensic toxicologists from the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory and NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, the state’s attorney’s office said it was unlikely that normal environmental exposure could explain the level of concentration found in the Arnold’s blood.

The two toxicologists said the result best aligns with “intentional use,” according to the report.

When contacted Wednesday morning, Jamie Wombacher, Arnold’s attorney, said she had not yet seen the report and declined to comment.

Attempts to reach the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and deputies on Wednesday were not immediately successful.

The two deputies have been on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the external investigation, authorities said.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office is “seriously concerned” about the discovery, and an investigation into the matter is ongoing, it said in the report.

Considering the “totality of the circumstances”, however, the bureau concluded that the shooting was “justified”.

“The lab result alone, however, is insufficient to change our opinion as to the legality of the shooting,” the state’s attorney’s office said in the report.

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