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posted: 12/29/2012 8:00 AM

Glen Ellyn residents unnerved by man's arrests, behavior

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  • Christopher Shukin

      Christopher Shukin

 

A DuPage County judge set tighter bond conditions for a Glen Ellyn man Friday after neighbors unnerved by the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., raised concerns about his growing arrest record and unusual behavior.

Christopher Shukin, 22, has been arrested 10 times since November 2011 on a variety of charges, from walking around naked to window peeping and grabbing a 4-year-old child he didn't know.

In court Friday, Judge John Kinsella ordered Shukin fit with a GPS monitoring device while under psychiatric care at a Naperville hospital. Kinsella said he would issue an arrest warrant if Shukin leaves the facility, which he checked into Thursday.

Prosecutors plan to argue at a hearing Monday that Shukin should be taken into custody, in light of his repeated arrests and a community outcry.

"The community is really concerned with what has happened in the nation in the last two weeks," Assistant State's Attorney Helen Kapas said, referring to Newtown. "They're scared to let their children outside."

Kapas said a psychiatric evaluation found Shukin has impaired judgment and is a "risk to others."

Shukin's mother Susan, who was kicked out of court Friday for repeatedly trying to speak to the judge, countered there's a "witch hunt" for her son, whom she described as a straight-A student and athlete in school.

"They might as well put a cross in my yard and hand out matches," she said. "My son means no harm, and we're doing everything in our power."

Christopher Shukin was most recently arrested Nov. 7 when he was accused of exposing himself at Main Street and Hill Avenue, near his home in Glen Ellyn. Prosecutors said he admitted answering a "call of the wild" by waving down passing cars in the hopes that a female driver would stop.

In October, he was accused of walking around Avalon Lakeside Apartments in Wheaton fully nude and peering into a child's bedroom. Three days earlier, prosecutors say he looked into a window on the 200 block of Regent Street in Glen Ellyn while wearing only socks.

In May, Shukin was accused of randomly grabbing a 4-year-old child by the shirt at a Glen Ellyn playground. He also has been charged with the February assault of a student at College of DuPage. Prosecutors said he touched the student's buttocks and asked her to show her breasts. In Wheaton, he's accused of spray painting sexually explicit images on a woman's car.

Three battery cases -- including one in which Shukin was accused of striking a family member in the head with a wooden drumstick -- were dismissed after the complaining witnesses failed to appear in court, records show.

Prosecutors and police said concerned neighbors started calling after the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown. Shukin, of the 400 block of Hill Avenue, lives near Lincoln Elementary School and once reportedly followed a woman and her child at the school, Deputy Glen Ellyn Police Chief Bill Holmer said.

He said authorities are working together to find a solution that will bring peace of mind to neighbors, as well as Shukin's family.

"It's a sad case that has impacted not only Mr. Shukin's family, but the neighboring community," Holmer said. "There is some relief in the community because these cases are being appropriately addressed."

According to court records, Shukin's parents bailed him out of jail after the bulk of his arrests.

Defense attorney Jeff Fawell said Shukin was hospitalized Thursday after going into a "catatonic" and depressed state, and could remain there for three to five weeks. There's been no diagnosis so far, he said.

Fawell told the judge that arresting his client would only jeopardize his ongoing treatment, which will assess his medication needs.

"All the things the state is looking for will be addressed" through treatment, Fawell said.

Five Glen Ellyn residents who live near Shukin attended Friday's court proceedings.

One man, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case, said those concerned want to protect not only their own children but Shukin, as well.

He said the Newtown tragedy "allowed us to take notice and take charge in our lives and the lives around us."

"Ultimately, we're here for our kids," he said. "I'm not calling for him to be thrown away."

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