A man who was shot early Wednesday morning by a Vernon Hills police officer has been charged with felony aggravated assault.
Police said Howard R. Lazarus, 53, of 16 N. Bristol Court, Mundelein, entered the Vernon Hills Police Department shortly after midnight and said he wanted to file a report involving a car accident he had in Mundelein. When an officer offered to drive him to the Mundelein Police Department, police say Lazarus "pulled a handgun out of his coat pocket and pointed it at the officer."
The Vernon Hills officer then drew his weapon and told Lazarus several times to drop his gun, according to a statement from the police department.
"The man pulled back the slide on the handgun and took several steps towards the officer. In response, the officer fired two rounds at the suspect, striking him one time in the abdomen," police said.
Lazarus was transported to the hospital and is currently listed in fair condition after being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
A hand-written note found in Lazarus' pocket stated in part, “I apologize for placing your officers in this position. I am dying from cancer and couldn’t do the deed myself.”
The weapon he pointed at the officer was a metal, 9mm semi-automatic “replica gun” with a working slide and removable magazine.
Per Vernon Hills Police Department policy, the officer has been placed on administrative leave pending a full investigation of the incident. The incident is being investigated by members of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.