Police incorrectly ruled a 59-year-old man died from an accidental fall in Waukegan Wednesday until it was later discovered by the funeral home he had actually been shot in the head.
The Waukegan Police Department and Waukegan Fire Department responded around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday to the 300 block of Helmholz Avenue in Waukegan for a death investigation.
Officers found a 59-year-old man who was found dead inside a home.
A police report said the man had serious health issues and had recently been discharge from the hospital.
Officers believed the man had fallen and hit his head on the corner of a dresser, the report said.
The coroner’s office was notified and the man’s body was picked up by a funeral home.
A longtime friend of the 59-year-old told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that the funeral home discovered a gunshot wound to the man’s head after taking possession of the body.
“The Waukegan police just tried to sweep it under the rug like he fell, but thank goodness the funeral home [saw] the bullet,” the woman said.
She said the man had been sitting on his bed when a shot was fired through the window of the room. “The cops failed to even look at the window in the room with the bullet hole.”
The woman said she and the family should have never been allowed to enter the room to say their final goodbye to his body on Tuesday because it inadvertently contaminated the crime scene after the police thought it was an accidental death.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office told Lake and McHenry County Scanner they were notified Wednesday afternoon by the funeral home, which had discovered the man had an injury behind his ear.
The coroner’s office responded to the funeral home and suspected the injury was a gunshot wound.
The body was transported to the coroner’s office for an examination, which was performed Thursday morning.
The coroner’s office ruled the man died from a gunshot wound to the head.
The 59-year-old’s identity is being temporarily withheld by investigators pending further investigation.
Detectives were back at the residence Wednesday morning conducting an investigation.
The Waukegan Police Department has not released any information on the homicide.