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Attorneys say man shot, killed by police in Chicago suburbs had mental health issues police knew about

Family of Elk Grove Village man shot dead by police announces civil investigation
Family of Elk Grove Village man shot dead by police announces civil investigation 02:37

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A family spoke out Monday on behalf of a man who last week was shot and killed by Elk Grove Village police while wielding a knife.

As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported, the family said the man, Jack Murray, had a history of mental health issues – and they said police were well aware of that fact.

The family of the 24-year-old Murray said he had a history of calling police when he believed his health and wellness were in danger. Police told us Friday they've responded to the residence in the past.

They claim police knew him and his history, and they don't accept the police narrative of the incident.

It was Friday afternoon at 4:27 p.m. when police told us multiple officers responded to a home in the 200 block of Fern Drive in Elk Grove Village. Police said Murray walked out with a knife, confronting the officers with a knife in hand.

Police say officers shot and killed Murray during the confrontation in a yard just a few doors down from his home. Initial reports said he was shot at least four times in the chest.

"He knew there was times he needed help quickly, and believed police could help him," said Murray's aunt, Liz Belcaster.

Belcaster spoke out on behalf of Murray's family – who are now working with attorneys from the well-known firm of Romanucci & Blandin. The firm has launched a civil investigation into Murray's shooting death - focusing on the handling of what they are describing as a distress call.

Jack Murray Romanucci & Blandin

They say Murray was a type 1 diabetic, -- with insulin levels impacting his behavior. 

"He was challenged by his health issues being a type one diabetic," Belcaster said. "It impacted him physically, and was also a significant emotional challenge." 

Murray also had a history of calling police when he felt his health and wellness were in danger, and frequently checked himself into the hospital, the family said.

The family believes Murray himself called police Friday. Attorneys say they have reason to believe he placed the call, but police haven't confirmed that.

"We have many questions about what happened that day, and really just want answers," said Belcaster.

The family is calling for the release of the 911 call in the incident, and body camera and dash camera video.

Attorneys said earlier Monday that Elk Grove Village police hadn't responded to those requests - and until they do, it's too early to file a lawsuit.

Another part of the investigation involves why Murray's family was not allowed to see him once he was rushed to the hospital.

"I have never encountered this specific issue," said family attorney Antonio Romanucci. "They were told his son and his surrounding area, at the hospital, was a crime scene - so they were denied any ability to literally go into the room and say any goodbyes."

Police didn't address our questions about that, but say they will be sharing the 911 call, and dash camera and body camera video, as soon as they can…with the ongoing investigation. They say they believe those materials will help the community better understand what happened.

Below is the full statement issued Monday from Elk Grove Village police:

"Firstly, the Village of Elk Grove and the Elk Grove Village Police Department extend our sincere condolences to the family of the man involved in Friday's tragic incident. Our prayers go out to Mr. Murray's family as they grieve their loss. 

"The following is a brief update on the incident that took place in Elk Grove Village last Friday afternoon. 

"The Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT) is undertaking an independent investigation into this incident, which is ongoing. The Elk Grove Village Police Department has and will continue to provide whatever information and assistance MCAT needs to complete its investigation. The Elk Grove Village Police Department has already provided MCAT investigators footage of the body-worn cameras, and vehicle camera footage is available for their review.

"Additionally, the Elk Grove Village Police Department has been conducting a parallel criminal investigation in order gain a complete understanding of the events that led to the incident.

"Whenever there is a use-of-force incident involving a fatality, it is Department policy to place the Officers involved on temporary administrative leave as the investigation continues.  As a result, five of the responding officers, not all of whom applied lethal force during the encounter, have been placed on temporary administrative leave as the investigation continues.

"Over the years, the Village has placed a priority on ensuring that Elk Grove Village Police officers have all the resources and training they need to handle any situation. 

"We plan to share additional information about this incident publicly, including the audio from 9-1-1 dispatch, as well as the audio and video footage from the officers' body-worn and vehicle cameras. We know that sharing this information in a transparent way will help our community better understand the events that unfolded last Friday afternoon.  It is our goal to share this information as soon as we are can, after crucial investigative steps have been taken."

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