Charges have been filed against a man who planned to commit “suicide by cop” and threatened to blow up an apartment building during an eviction earlier this month in North Chicago.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Division arrived at an apartment in the 1700 block of Sheridan Road in North Chicago around 10 a.m. on August 9.
Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli said the Civil Process Division arrived to enforce an eviction.
The eviction was scheduled before the pandemic and fell into one of the exceptions that made it enforceable despite the current moratorium on evictions, Covelli said.
Three sheriff’s deputies knocked on the door of the apartment and the resident, a 58-year-old man, told sheriff’s deputies he knew why they were there, but he was not going to leave.
The sheriff’s deputies explained the man would have to leave due to the court order.
Covelli said the man told sheriff’s deputies that he had a device rigged to his door and if they entered they would “be sorry.” The man also told them they should evacuate people from the building.
The sheriff’s deputies then heard what sounded like slides of firearms being racked and believed the man was preparing firearms, Covelli said. The deputies then heard a loud pop sound.
“Believing the man might have an explosive, the sounds like he was preparing firearms, and the loud noise, the deputies began evacuating the apartment building, while one of the deputies continued to communicate with the man through the door,” Covelli said.
Numerous other deputies, the Lake County Sheriff’s Tactical Response Team, and the North Chicago Police Department responded to the scene.
Lake County sheriff’s negotiators spent just over an hour communicating with the man. During the negotiations, the man indicated he did not have explosives and he just made the comment about having a device to keep the deputies from entering his apartment.
The negotiators continued their communication and the man voluntarily surrendered, Covelli said.
The Waukegan Fire Department Bomb Squad arrived on the scene and verified there were no explosives inside the apartment.
Covelli said that a further investigation revealed the man was attempting “suicide by cop.”
The man said he planned on pointing a gun at deputies when they entered the home in hopes the deputies would shoot him. The pop noise the deputies heard is believed to have been a firework the man ignited.
The man was transported to an area hospital for a mental health evaluation.
“This was incredibly concerning and downright scary to all of the occupants in the apartment building. I could not be prouder of all of our staff involved in this incident, for their quick actions of evacuating all of the building’s occupants to safety and also showing tremendous restraint in their interaction with this man,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.
“There is no doubt, this incident could have ended much differently if it were not for the professionalism, training, and experience of my staff,” Idleburg said.
On Sunday, Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that charges of obstructing service of process and obstructing a peace officer were filed. Both are misdemeanors.
The man’s name is not being released due to the incident being a mental health crisis, Covelli said.
“Our first and foremost priority is ensuring the man gets the mental health support and services he needs. We will work with the state’s attorney’s office and courts to ensure that happens,” Covelli said.