--My thoughts go out to the officer involved.
I hope that the bad guy in this, Howard Lazarus, lives long enough to suffer some jail time and pain for what he has caused by his monumental act of cowardice.--
Story at Chicago Tribune
By Dan Hinkel and Michael Holtz
8:33 PM CDT, April 3, 2013
Carrying a note in his pocket saying he was terminally ill but couldn't "do the deed" himself, a man walked into the Vernon Hills police station early Wednesday and brandished a realistic-looking fake handgun before an officer shot and wounded him, authorities said.
"I apologize for placing your officers in this position," Howard R. Lazarus, 53, wrote in the note found in his pocket after the shooting in the northern suburb, police said. "I am dying from cancer and couldn't do the deed myself."
Lazarus, of Mundelein, was hit in the abdomen, police said, and he was in fair condition Wednesday evening at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Lazarus is charged with aggravated assault.
Though his weapon turned out to be a replica of a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, police noted that the gun appeared real and had a removable magazine. Authorities said that just before he was shot, Lazarus pulled back the gun's slide, an action that would indicate a round being drawn into the chamber in a real semi-automatic.
"The suspect made moves to actually fire the weapon, and the officer had no choice," Vernon Hills Officer Sharon Joseph said.
The incident marked the first time in the department's roughly 50-year history that an officer had shot a person, Joseph said.
Per departmental policy, the officer, a 14-year veteran of the agency, is on leave pending a full investigation, police said.
The incident started shortly after midnight Wednesday when Lazarus walked into the station and said he had been involved in an accident and wanted to file a report, authorities said.
The officer met with Lazarus in the lobby but determined that the supposed accident had happened in neighboring Mundelein. After the officer offered him a ride to the Mundelein police station, Lazarus pulled the replica gun from his coat pocket and aimed it at the officer, police said.
The officer drew his gun and told Lazarus several times to drop his, authorities said, before Lazarus pulled back the weapon's slide and walked toward the officer. He asked the officer to shoot him, Joseph said.
The officer fired twice, hitting Lazarus and shattering glass in a station door, police said.
Experts on "suicide by cop" said studies suggest the method of attempting suicide is more common than once thought. Though people sometimes survive attempts to die by police gunfire, suicidal people who fail to find the help they need recognize that police are trained to respond to extreme danger with lethal force, experts said.
"People know, you do certain things, cops are going to shoot you," said Kris Mohandie, a police psychologist.