By Lolly Bowean
The Chicago Tribune
JOLIET, Ill. — A 54-year-old Joliet man was shot to death by a police officer Thursday morning after he stabbed the officer's partner, authorities said.
The injured officer was in serious but stable condition, said Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes.
Police would not release the name of the dead man because his relatives had not been notified. They declined to release the names of the three police officers involved.
Hayes said police think the Joliet man may have stabbed and robbed another man shortly before he tried to attack the officers.
"You have a vicious attack ... an individual who not only stabbed a person who has life-threatening injuries, but then turns on an armed officer and attacks him. This could have been worse than what it was. I'm thankful there weren't any more victims," Hayes said.
The incident occurred about 10 a.m. at an apartment building in the 200 block of East Cass Street, Hayes said. Officers were across the street from the building on an unrelated issue with a business owner.
As they stood outside, a man carrying a baby approached them and said someone in the apartments had just tried to stab him, Hayes said.
"Three of our officers went into the building. They went in the main entrance, walked up to the second floor ... and saw the offender in the hallway," he said.
The man was standing in the small, confined lobby with his hands behind his back when the first officer approached and tried to question him, telling him to show his hands, Hayes said.
At that point, the man pulled out a utility knife with a 3 1/2-inch blade and lunged at the officer, stabbing him in the chest and stomach, he said.
A second officer pulled the injured officer out of the way and fired a shot at the Joliet man, Hayes said. Though the man was wounded, he lunged with his knife again, prompting the officer to fire once more, the chief said. The man collapsed and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The injured officer, a 29-year veteran of the force, was transported by ambulance to Silver Cross Hospital, Hayes said.
At the hospital, detectives learned that a 47-year-old Ingalls Park man was being treated for life-threatening stab wounds.
The man told police he was at the same building on East Cass when a man approached him in the second-floor hallway, stabbed and robbed him. He said he didn't call 911, but ran to his car and drove to his girlfriend's house. She drove him to the hospital.
"All indications are that it was this same offender," Hayes said.
The man was too severely hurt to tell police much more, he said.
The Joliet man was staying at an inexpensive downtown hotel, and residents of the apartment building said they saw him outside before Thursday's incident, Hayes said.
He had been arrested for disorderly conduct in another jurisdiction just days before, police said, adding that he had several aliases. That was making it difficult to locate his family and tell them about the shooting.
The three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave until an investigation can be completed, Hayes said. The Will County state's attorney's office is investigating the incident as routine procedure.
"Our initial investigation indicates the use of deadly force was reasonable and was in the defense of life," he said. "I'd say this officer was very courageous and brave in saving his fellow officer's life. We have to conduct a thorough investigation, [but] I don't expect it to take very long."
Copyright 2007 Chicago Tribune
Man stabs Ill. officer with utility knife, suspect fatally shot