BATAVIA, Ill. (STMW) — The Illinois State Police and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office have concluded their investigation into the officer-involved shooting death of a west suburban Batavia man last July.
The investigation concluded that the 20-year veteran Kane County deputy was justified in using deadly force when he shot 52-year-old Luke Bulzak to death at his home on July 8, 2013, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said Tuesday.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to 3S303 Elfstrom Trail in unincorporated Batavia Township at 11:40 a.m. that day after receiving a call about a suicidal male. Deputies were told that the man may have fired a gun.
When they arrived, deputies found Bulzak on the roof of his home with a rifle.
Sheriff’s deputies said they attempted to get Bulzak to drop his weapon, but he refused. Deputies said the man pointed the rifle toward them, and a sheriff’s sergeant shot at him.
Bulzak was transported to Mercy Center Hospital in Aurora where he initially was admitted in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead.
“It is our conclusion that Mr. Bulzak presented a risk of harm or death not only to neighbors, but to [responding officers] on the scene,” McMahon said. “It was a dangerous situation Mr. Bulzak created with a horribly tragic ending.”
McMahon said because Bulzak was on the roof of his home, he created an even more dangerous situation.
“It was important to us that Bulzak was in a position of tactical advantage,” he said. “He was on the roof of his home in a neighborhood. He pointed a rifle at at least one person. The sergeant took action that he was legally justified in taking.”
Neighbors said that Bulzak was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and on medication, which may have contributed to his erratic behavior that morning.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, about 40 to 50 percent of those living with Parkinson’s experience psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. These symptoms usually occur during advanced stages of the disease, or when a person is taking multiple medications.
About the same percent of people suffering from the disease also see signs of depression, according to information on the Johns Hopkins website.
McMahon said his office reviewed information about Bulzak’s medical condition as part of their investigation.
“We know that his condition may have changed leading up to the morning of July 8,” McMahon said. “These were things that were taken into considering. The deputies on scene at that moment had to make a decision in that instant, and that deputy took action that he was trained and prepared to take in that situation.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)