The state’s attorney’s office has cleared the officers who fatally shot a man who called 911 and then fired two guns into the air when responding officers arrived in Buffalo Grove.
The Buffalo Grove Police Department responded to a 911 call around 12:29 a.m. December 2, 2021 for a report of a man with a gun in the area of Radcliffe Road and Boxwood Lane in Buffalo Grove.
According to the 911 call, which was released last year, the caller reported, “There’s a dude standing out there and he’s all crazy.”
The caller told a dispatcher that the man was armed with a 9mm handgun and a .45 caliber handgun. “The dude just popped off two rounds,” the caller told dispatchers.
The caller also told the dispatcher “[…] this guy is dangerous so don’t — just use a lethal instead of a non-lethal.”
When the dispatcher asked the caller who the gunman was, the caller stated, “Well that would be me.”
The caller was later identified as Brian Christopher Howard, 25, of Elgin.
Howard told the dispatcher he loves “everything that they do,” referring to police officers, and said, “But I’m a bad dude and it’s about time that I get what’s coming.”
The dispatcher asked the man numerous times to drop his weapons as the officers were responding but Howard refused.
“I mean, I just flashed off a 9 and a .45 so I’m going to jail regardless, and that’s the thing for me so just tell them to shoot to kill,” Howard said during the call.
Dashcam video, which was also released last year, shows officers rushing to the scene with their lights and sirens activated.
The first officer to arrive on the scene located Howard behind a vacant church at 1250 Radcliffe Road.
Howard was holding two handguns and began walking toward the officers. The man then started shooting both guns into the air, the video showed.
Officers Jon Officer and Ross Valstyn gave Howard commands to stop but he refused and continued walking towards them while still holding the guns.
“Hands up! Put your hands up! Stop! Stop moving!” an officer yelled at Howard, according to the video.
Officer Jon Officer fired seven rounds from his handgun but did not strike the man. Officer Ross Valstyn fired three shots from a rifle, striking Howard once in the chest.
The officers performed CPR on him but paramedics pronounced Howard dead at the scene.
No one else was injured during the incident but the two officers involved were transported to the hospital for observation.
The two officers are seasoned officers and were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol, then-Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steven Casstevens said at the time.
“No officer ever wants to take the life of another person. That being said, officers are often placed in split-second decisions where they are forced to take action that unfortunately results in deadly force,” Casstevens said at a press conference.
The Lake County Major Crime Task Force led the investigation and the case was reviewed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The state’s attorney’s office recently released a decision memorandum, saying they were not going to be charging the two officers involved.
“In this case, however, the evidence shows that Officer Valstyn and Officer Jon Officer each had a reasonable belief that Brian Howard put both officers in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death,” the office said in the memo.
The state’s attorney’s office referred the case to the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor. That office also concurred that no criminal charges were appropriate.