Officer says Howard Joseph had a suicide note in his pocket that indicated he was dying of cancer. Kim Vatis reports.
A man suffering from terminal cancer walked into a Vernon Hills police station with a replica gun early Wednesday and pointed it at an officer, police confirmed.
Howard R. Lazarus, of Mundelein, walked into the lobby of the police department just after midnight saying he had been involved in an accident and needed to fill out a report, Ofc. Sharon Joseph said.
When an officer entered the lobby to talk to Lazarus, police said he suddenly pulled out a gun and pointed it at the officer. The officer drew his weapon and fired at the man, striking him in the abdomen.
"There was a slight stand down where the gentleman was asking to be shot by the officer and then made moves to shoot the officer, so the officer did fire two shots," said Joseph.
Joseph said a hand-written note was found in Lazarus' pocket that read in part “I apologize for placing your officers in this position. I am dying from cancer and couldn’t do the deed myself.”
Lazarus was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center where he was listed in fair condition with non-life threatening injuries. He was charged with one count of felony aggravated assault.
The officer was not injured.
Police said it is customary for an officer to go into the lobby if someone needs help.
"Generally, when someone comes into the lobby, we'll initially meet them right in front of the dispatch window," Joseph said. "And then, depending on their needs, we might go to an interview room."
A front door of the police station was seen shattered Wednesday morning.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave, per police department policy, until the Lake County Major Crime Task Force completes its investigation
|Police say Howard Lazarus walked into a Vernon Hills police station early Wednesday, pretending to need help after an accident, and then pointed this 9mm handgun at an officer.|