BATAVIA, Ill. (STMW) – A west suburban man died Monday after being shot by a Kane County Sheriff’s sergeant when he pointed a gun at deputies, authorities said.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to 3S303 Elfstrom Trail in unincorporated Batavia Township at 11:40 a.m. Monday after receiving a call about a suicidal man who may have fired a gun.
When they arrived, deputies found a 52-year-old man on the roof of his home with a rifle.
Neighbors, who spoke through tears Tuesday, identified the man as Luke Bulzak, who lived at the home with his wife, the Beacon-News is reporting.
“He was my friend,” a woman said, speaking about Bulzak. “He wasn’t a nut ball. He was a great guy.”
Witnesses said officers descended on the quiet neighborhood off of Randall Road after receiving the call. “It happened really fast,” Bulzak’s next-door neighbor said.
When they arrived, deputies attempted to get the man to drop his weapon, but he refused.
Deputies said the man pointed the rifle toward them, and a sheriff’s sergeant shot at him.
He was transported to Mercy Center Hospital in Aurora in critical condition, but was pronounced dead about 7:30 p.m. No one else was injured, deputies said.
The sergeant, a 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, has been placed on administrative leave. The sheriff’s office and Illinois State Police are conducting a review of the incident.
“We are sensitive to how we approach any family when there is a death in a normal situation,” sheriff’s Lt. Patrick Gengler said. “But, when there is a situation like this, where we are involved, we are even more sensitive to how we interact….We want to make sure we understand the emotions the family is going through.”
A neighbor, who asked that her name not be used, said officers surrounded the home and nearby streets for hours following the shooting.
She described Bulzak as a kind man, who could sometimes be erratic as a result of his suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
“Did (officers) act appropriately? Probably,” she said. “Did they have to shoot (to kill)? Probably not…We can speculate about this 100 different ways, and we probably still won’t be correct.”
The woman had visited with Bulzak and his wife just days before the fatal shooting, and had plans to meet up for dinner next week. She said the man was not suicidal, but that a startled neighbor probably called police after seeing him on his roof with a gun.
She said it was not uncommon for Bulzak to be on his roof fiddling with his ham radio, or scouting out the coyote den nearby.
He loved to take neighbor kids fishing, for rides in his Porsche, and have friends over to swim.
“If you know about Parkinson’s, you know what a terrible disease it is, and what it does to a person,” she said. “The meds really effect a person. What it does to calm the body, screws with the mind.”
Gengler said the last time and officer with the Sheriff’s Department was involved in a fatal officer-related shooting was at least 20 years ago.
“This is not something that happens often,” he said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)