‘This should have never happened’: Family of man fatally shot by police sues Elk Grove Village

The family of a 24-year-old Elk Grove Village man fatally shot by police has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the village and five officers.

The civil complaint, filed Wednesday in Cook County circuit court, alleges officers were negligent and violated their policies and training in the Dec. 1, 2023 shooting of Jack Murray.

“I am telling you here today: They all knew Jack and our family by first name. Every single one of them,” Murray’s mother, Donna Murray, said at a downtown Chicago news conference Thursday morning. “Why? Why? He never hurt anybody. Not even his own family. Never. He only always cried out for help. It always happened. What went wrong this day?”

  Attorney Antonio Romanucci, third from left, announced the filing of a lawsuit against Elk Grove Village in the police shooting death of 24-year-old Jack Murray. He was joined by Murray's aunt Liz Belcaster, from left, mother Donna Murray, attorney Javier Rodriguez, brother Ryan Murray, sister Shannon Murray and father Tom Murray. Christopher Placek/

The family’s attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said Jack Murray was in a diminished and impaired mental state when he called 911 the afternoon of Dec. 1. After officers arrived outside his house on Fern Drive, Romanucci said they failed to use de-escalation tactics or give Murray the “the time, physical space and ultimately the desperate assistance he needed.”

The encounter “demanded crisis intervention, and not a full military-style police response that Jack got instead,” Romanucci said. “A call to the police for help should never, ever be a death sentence.”

In a written statement Thursday afternoon, Mayor Craig Johnson reiterated earlier comments from December, saying officers who responded utilized crisis intervention, mental health and de-escalation tactics on which they were trained.

“The village looks forward to defending the actions of its officers during the very unfortunate and tragic incident involving Mr. Murray,” Johnson said.

Jack Murray, 24, was fatally shot by Elk Grove Village police during an encounter near his home Dec. 1, 2023. Courtesy of Romanucci & Blandin

Though police deployed a Taser as Murray approached them with a knife, Romanucci said they could’ve used additional nonlethal weapons they had, like a beanbag rifle, batons or pepper spray.

Attorney Javier Rodriguez said it appears the beanbag rifle was fired simultaneously to the firing of five gunshots by officers.

“They didn’t give him enough time,” Romanucci said. “Shoot him with the beanbag. Break a rib. Don’t pierce his heart, and everybody else in this room along with it.”

A screenshot from a video released by Elk Grove Village shows the moments before police fatally shot Jack Murray during a Dec. 1, 2023 encounter outside his home. The red arrow points to a knife Murray was holding, officials say. Courtesy of Elk Grove Village

The news conference at Romanucci’s downtown law firm Thursday was attended by dozens of Murray’s family and friends wearing white T-shirts with the text “Justice for Jack 12-1-23.”

Donna Murray said her son had long dealt with type one diabetes and mental health issues, and Elk Grove police had assisted him in times of crisis since he was 14 years old. She said he was never harmful to anyone.

“What went wrong?” his tearful mother said. “This should have never happened. They took our son, our buddy, our friend — a large part of our life.”

The lawsuit, formally brought by Donna Murray as administrator of her son’s estate, lists the village and five unnamed officers as defendants. The complaint includes counts of willful and wanton conduct for wrongful death and survival action, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.

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