Kane sheriff urges patience, privacy in fatal shooting probe

Updated 7/11/2013 2:10 PM

Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez this week urged patience and rebuffed "armchair quarterbacking" during the investigation of a Monday incident in which a sergeant shot and killed a Batavia Township man who authorities said was perched on his roof with a rifle.

Perez said the investigation into the shooting of Luke Bulzak, 52, is ongoing and will be comprehensive.


"First, our condolences go out to the Bulzak family for their loss. Second, we are providing any and all services required to help our deputies cope regarding the stress of being placed in this situation," Perez said Wednesday in a news release.

Deputies were called to the 3S300 block of Elfstrom Lane in Batavia Township near the northwest corner of Randall and Orchard roads late Monday morning for a "suicidal subject." When deputies arrived, they said they found Bulzak atop the roof of his home with a high-caliber rifle.

The sheriff's office said Bulzak refused to put down the gun and pointed it at officers. A sergeant and 20-year veteran shot Bulzak, who died later that day at an Aurora hospital.

"When we use deadly force, we do not shoot to kill, we shoot to stop the threat," Perez said in a phone interview. "If someone dies during that, that's something we don't have control over."

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Perez said he immediately called in a third party -- the Illinois State Police -- to collect evidence and investigate whether the use of deadly force was justified. Any report will be reviewed by the Kane County State's Attorney's Office.

Perez said he was bothered by comments on media websites from readers suggesting that authorities should have shot the rifle out of Bulzak's hands and that a backyard neighbor interviewed by the Daily Herald questioned why lethal force was used if Bulzak was climbing on a large HAM radio tower attached to his home.

"It's frustrating because it's easy to comment on what we should or shouldn't have done," Perez said. "It just happened (Monday). We're not going to complete an investigation, nor is the state police, in two days."

He stressed that the media should refrain from speculation and readers should hold back on comments.

"This was a situation all law enforcement officers understand could become a reality at any time, and the last thing any of us wants is a loss of life for a member of the public or our agency," read part of Perez's statement. "When the time is appropriate, all findings will be released to the public. Until then this is an ongoing investigation, and will not be compromised."

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday. Kane County Coroner Rob Russell refused to comment on the preliminary cause of death from Bulzak's autopsy, saying a full report would be available within weeks.

Funeral information for Bulzak was not immediately available.

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