Lawsuit filed in fatal Highland Park hospital shooting

The mother of a 27-year-old Waukegan man who was shot and killed by police inside a hospital emergency room has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Highland Park.

Police officers Kevin Roberts and Brian Reif were also named as defendants in the federal lawsuit filed electronically Sunday on behalf of Venus Anderson, who serves as the administrator of the estate for her son, Christopher Anderson.

Christopher Anderson was shot in a Northshore Highland Park Hospital emergency room at 1:30 a.m. Nov. 3, about three hours after he was a passenger in a car involved in a traffic accident. Authorities said police shot Anderson after he drew a gun on officers and hospital workers.

Attorney Blake Horwitz, who is representing the Anderson family in the lawsuit, said his investigation showed officers opened fire while Anderson was "complying with their order."

"He wasn't pointing the gun at them; he wasn't going to kill them," Horwitz said. "I believe, he was complying with their order to drop the gun when they shot him."

Venus Anderson seeks compensatory and punitive damages but does not list a specific dollar amount, he said.

Highland Park City Manager Ghida Neukirch declined to comment because city officials have not yet been served with the lawsuit.

The Lake County state's attorney's office determined in November that officers followed proper protocol in the shooting.

Authorities said Anderson was admitted to the hospital after he and his daughter suffered minor injuries in a DUI crash on the Tri-State Tollway near Lake-Cook Road around 11 p.m. Nov. 2. Authorities said Anderson was a front-seat passenger, and his daughter, Alaysia, was sitting in the back seat.

Highland Park police were called to the hospital after the staff reported Anderson was acting aggressively, authorities said. Hospital workers asked Anderson to change into a hospital gown, but he "grew increasingly agitated" and refused, authorities said.

Surveillance video of the shooting shows officers and hospital personnel retreating in the emergency room. Police officers can be seen holding weapons and speaking into the room where Anderson is allegedly located.

For about three minutes, there is chaos in the emergency room as officers come and go before a doctor wheels Anderson on a cart to a nearby emergency area.

Anderson was hit more than once from the nine shots fired in a 1.7-second span, officials said.

The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force investigated the shooting and gave their findings to the state's attorney's office for a final decision whether officers acted appropriately.

The gun Anderson had was reported stolen in Waukegan, investigators learned.

Anderson's criminal background included serving time for aggravated battery and escape from a penal institution. He was released on parole in May.

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