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Man shot, wounded by police officer near Chicago had death wish, authorities say

Vernon Hills, Ill., police station, hours after police say an officer shot a man who was in the station and pulled a gun, Wednesday, April 3, 2013.
CBS Chicago
(CBS) CHICAGO - A police officer in the northern Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills shot a man inside the police station lobby early Wednesday, and, in an unusual twist, authorities say the gunman was a cancer patient who apparently wanted to get himself killed, CBS Chicago reported.

Police say that Howard Lazarus of Mundelein, Ill. claimed he was dying of cancer and went to the station with a gun hoping police would fatally shoot him. Instead, Lazarus is charged with aggravated assault.

According to CBS Chicago, Lazarus entered the station shortly after midnight Wednesday and met an officer in the lobby, saying he wanted to file an accident report.

He then suddenly drew a handgun and aimed it at the officer, who drew his service weapon and shot the suspect at least once, Vernon Hills police officer Sharon Joseph said.

The suspect's weapon was a metal, 9mm semi-automatic "replica gun," police said.

According to police, a hand-written note was found in the suspect's pocket that stated: "I apologize for placing your officers in this position. I am dying from cancer and couldn't do the deed myself."

He was reported to be in fair condition at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

There is no evidence at this time that the suspect was involved in any sort of accident.

The police officer who shot Lazarus has been on the force for at least 12 years, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, in accordance with department policy, Officer Joseph said.

It was the first police-involved shooting in the 57-year history of the department, CBS Chicago reported.

  • Barry Leibowitz

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