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Family of man shot and killed by Elk Grove Village police files wrongful death lawsuit

Family of Jack Murray files wrongful death lawsuit in Elk Grove Village police shooting
Family of Jack Murray files wrongful death lawsuit in Elk Grove Village police shooting 01:04

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The family of a man who was shot and killed by police in Elk Grove Village last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

On Dec. 1, 2023, police responded to Jack Murray's home in the 200 block of Fern Drive in Elk Grove Village in response to a 911 call about a person "acting erratic with a knife." 

Murray's family has said they believe he was the one who made the call, and was slurring his speech and in distress at the time.

"We as a family never anticipated that Jack's cry for help would lead to deadly shooting and the loss of our 24-year-old son," said his mother, Donna Murphy. "The same people we expected to help took the life of a beautiful human being."

"A call for help from someone suffering from a mental or physical crisis should never, ever be a death sentence," Murray family attorney Tony Romanucci said.

Body camera footage released in fatal Elk Grove Village police shooting 02:49

The family's attorneys said officers shot and killed Murray within 90 seconds of arriving at the scene, when he approached police with a knife in his hand, after failing to use proper de-escalation tactics to get Murray the help he needed.

"Jack was extremely disoriented, in emotional distress, and was stumbling and slurring his words. He was not able to hurt anyone," Romanucci said.

Murray's mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday against the village and the unnamed officers involved in the shooting. The family's attorneys said the village has yet to identify the officers involved.

The Murray family's attorneys said the officers who responded to the 911 call knew Murray had a history of suffering emotional distress, and had undergone crisis intervention training, but failed to use any de-escalation tactics before shooting him.

"Yet, despite their resources, their knowledge, and supposed preparation, these officers failed to follow their training, and did not utilize any de-escalation tactics, and did not provide Jack with time, physical space, and ultimately the desperate assistance that he had called the police for," Romanucci said. "Acknowledgement of the diminished impairment by the Elk Grove Village Police Department demanded crisis intervention, and not a full military-style police response that Jack got instead."

Elk Grove Village officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but after releasing body camera footage of the incident in December, Mayor Craig Johnson insisted crisis intervention, mental health, and de-escalation training tactics were used during the incident.

"Unfortunately, these efforts were not effective in neutralizing the threat to the officers' safety," Johnson said at the time.

Body camera footage and dispatch recordings released in December revealed officers were familiar with Murray's history of mental health problems.

Elk Grove Village releases body camera video of fatal police shooting of Jack Murray 26:27

Knowing a caller had told police Murray was wielding a knife before they arrived, one officer urged dispatchers to tell other people to get out of the house and later expressed reluctance to approach the home until the other people inside could get out.

Moments later, body camera footage shows Murray approaching the officers with a knife in his hand as police repeatedly tell him to put his hands up.

"He's going to get himself Tased," one officer said as Murray approached them.

In footage from a second officer's body camera, a woman in the background can be held asking Murray to put his knife down as he walks toward police.

Police and Johnson have said officers twice deployed a Taser on Murray as he approached them, and the sound of a Taser can be heard on the video footage as officers repeatedly tell Murray to drop the knife.

Within seconds of the officers deploying a Taser, one of the officers can be seen firing multiple shots with his service pistol. Murray was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. 

The Murray family's legal team noted the video footage confirmed officers at the scene were equipped with at least one rifle loaded with non-lethal "bean bag" rounds that could have been used to subdue Murray, but police did not use that option.

The shooting is being investigated by the suburban Major Case Assistance Team. Johnson has said the investigation could take months to complete.

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