A man dying of cancer wanted to kill himself, but because he couldn't muster up the courage to do it, he went into a police station and pretended he was going to shoot an officer so they would kill him instead.
Howard R. Lazarus, 53, took a BB gun to a police station in Vernon Hills, Illinois. He told officers that he wanted to file a report about an accident he was in, but instead, he pulled out the BB gun and pointed it at them.
The BB gun was a replica of a 9mm handgun. Officers tried to tell him to drop it, but when he moved forward and pulled back the slide on the weapon, an officer shot him in the stomach.
He was rushed to Advocate Condell Medical Center, where he remains and is in fair condition. He is being charged with aggravated assault, which is a Class 4 felony.
Officers found a note in Lazarus' pocket indicating why he had come to the station with the gun.
"I apologize for placing your officers in this position," he wrote. "I am dying from cancer and couldn't do the deed myself."
When Lazarus told the officers he was in an accident near Mundelein, they offered to give him a ride to the Mundelein Police Department.
"At that point, the subject pulled a handgun out of his coat pocket and pointed it at the officer," Officer Sharon Joseph said. "The suspect made moves to actually fire the weapon and the officer had no choice."
The officer, whose name has not been released, is a 14-year-veteran and has been placed on administrative leave as the Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigates.
It is not yet known whether or not Lazarus is actually sick.
Unfortunately, the "suicide by cop" method is not uncommon. While some people, like Lazarus, survive being shot by police, others die.
"People know, you do certain things, cops are going to shoot you," said Kris Mohandie, a police psychologist.