Family members of a man who was fatally shot by police at a Highland Park hospital last year have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against two Highland Park police officers and the city for the November shooting.
The family’s attorney, Blake Horwitz, said Highland Park police used excessive force when they shot and killed Christopher Anderson after the Waukegan man allegedly pulled out a gun inside the hospital.
Family members believe police did not have to shoot the father of two.
“His life didn’t have to be taken like that,” said Anderson’s mother Venus Anderson. “It was senseless and I just want to see justice done for my son and I want my son’s children he left behind to be taken care of.”
Illinois State Police officials said the incident began shortly after 11 p.m. on Nov. 3 when police responded to a crash on Route 94 near Lake Cook Road and arrested the driver for driving under the influence.
Two passengers in the vehicle, Anderson and his 9-year-old daughter, were taken to Highland Park Hospital, police said.
A few hours later, about 1:30 a.m., Highland Park police officers responded to a call for assistance with an "aggressive subject" at the hospital. Officers and hospital staff attempted to calm Anderson, who they say pulled out a handgun after becoming angry over the young girl's care.
After "repeated efforts" to get him to drop his weapon, officers fired, according to a statement from police. Anderson was struck and pronounced dead, police said.
In surveillance footage from the hospital, workers and officials are seen running from the hospital room. A few minutes later, officials wheel someone out of the room on a gurney.
At the time, the Lake County State’s attorney’s office and Highland Park police said the shooting was justified and officers followed protocol. They also allege Anderson was intoxicated the night of the incident and that the gun he allegedly had was stolen.
Horwitz claims police never gave Anderson the chance to surrender.
“While he was seeking to comply with the officer’s instructions, they shot him,” Horwitz said. “What I can see from the reports is that there are shots to his back and that he didn’t point the weapon at the officers and that he was attempting to remove the gun from his waist.”
Family members asked for financial compensation, but how much they requested was not released.
Police said Monday they could not comment on the pending litigation and Steven Elrod, Corporation Council for the city of Highland Park, said the city has not yet been served with the complaint.
"We cannot respond fully until we have read the complaint," Elrod said in a statement. "But based on all the known facts, we know of no basis for liability."