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On Oct. 8 at approximately 8:56 a.m., police officers went to the Pitner Avenue address to investigate a complaint of a domestic battery, said Cmdr. Guenther in a prepared statement. Officers had been informed by the alleged domestic abuse victim that the alleged offender had been known to possess a handgun and been seen with a handgun in prior weeks, he said. When police arrived on the scene, a relative of the alleged domestic abuse victim opened the door for police using her key. Upon entering the apartment, the officers observed the suspect on a couch with a coffee table in front of him and observed a stack of currency and plastic baggies on the table, said Cmdr. Guenther. The suspect refused to cooperate with the officers and began to visually “size up” the officers, said Cmdr. Guenther.
Under the Domestic Violence statute, the officers were required to arrest the suspect, said Cmdr. Guenther. As they approached the suspect, one officer observed a readily accessible handgun on the floor at the suspect’s feet, said Cmdr. Guenther. The officer announced “gun,” and the suspect leaned forward and grasped the gun, said Cmdr. Guenther. He said the police officers were faced with a deadly force situation and were compelled to act in defense of their lives, said Cmdr. Guenther. An officer fired a shot which struck the suspect in the neck and bicep and an officer “also sustained an injury directly related to the force used,” said Cmdr. Guenther.
Fearing that the suspect still had the gun, the officers continued to physically engage him, said Cmdr. Guenther. The suspect refused to show his hands and continued to fight with the officers, he said. The officers located a 9 mm Beretta automatic with a live round in the chamber and nine rounds in the magazine on the floor next to the suspect, said Cmdr. Guenther.
Evanston police officers were treated at a local hospital and released the same day. The alleged offender underwent surgery, said Cmdr. Guenther.
The suspect was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 24 and face charges of domestic battery, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, armed violence, various gun-related charges and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, said Cmdr. Guenther. An assistant state’s attorney told the RoundTable on Oct. 24 that the suspect was still hospitalized, and the case would be continued to a later date for indictment.
The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force was contacted and is conducting an investigation as it relates to the circumstances of this incident, said Cmdr. Guenther. He said preliminary indications are that no criminal charges will be filed against the police officer. Cmdr. Guenther said local police departments call in the task force when there is an officer involved shooting and an objective investigation is needed.
Police Injured in an Unrelated Incident
In an unrelated incident, police officers were questioning a 26-year-old man in the 300 block of Custer Avenue on Oct. 21 when the man clenched his fists and moved toward one of the officers in an aggressive manner, said Cmdr. Guenther in a prepared statement. The police officer and the man then engaged “in an extremely violent physical confrontation” during which the man attempted to get the officer’s gun by aggressively tugging on it, he said. The officer and the man fought over control of the gun until a back up officer arrived and assisted in arresting the man, said Cmdr. Guenther.
The officers were treated at an area hospital for facial contusions, stitches and abrasions. The man has been charged with attempting to disarm a police officer, aggravated battery to a police officer, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and other offenses.
A continuing investigation of the shooting that occurred when police went to 1506 Pitner Ave. on Oct. 8 to investigate a domestic battery complaint has revealed that the suspect was shot with a bullet fired by a police officer; and another police officer sustained an injury as a result of the firing of the police officer’s gun, Commander Tom Guenther, public information officer for the Evanston Police Department, told the RoundTable. The injured police officer may have been hit by a bullet or he may have sustained the injury due to blowback from the police officer’s gun, said Cmdr. Guenther. There is no evidence the suspect fired a gun, he added.