Arlington Hts. shooter had criminal past, cop expected to recover
Officer Michael McEvoy was on patrol for his regular Thursday evening shift when a call came over the radio about a man with a gun at a townhouse in Arlington Heights.
McEvoy and three other officers headed to the home on the 1900 block of Windham Court shortly before 7 p.m.
On the way there, they found out the man was Eric M. Anderson, 41, of Niles, who had tracked his estranged girlfriend to her mother's home even though she had taken out an order of protection against him just days earlier.
McEvoy was the first officer through the door when Anderson shot him once in the face.
His colleagues immediately jumped into action, with one acting as cover and the others dragging McEvoy out of the home and to a safe spot.
Luckily, Deputy Fire Chief Ken Koeppen was visiting family just down the street and heard the gunshot. He ran up and delivered critical first aid that officials said may have saved McEvoy's life.
"It was an act of God that he was nearby," said Cmdr. Andrew Whowell on Friday. "(He) is really a hero in this, along with the other responding officers."
After shooting McEvoy -- who is expected to recover fully but is in a medically induced coma as a precaution -- Anderson barricaded himself in the home, using his former girlfriend as a hostage. The 39-year-old woman's mother was able to escape before the shooting, police said.
For several hours police and SWAT team members tried to negotiate with Anderson and said they hoped for a peaceful solution.
But around 10:30 p.m., Anderson entered the attached garage and pointed a gun at officers who had surrounded the house. "That is a point of no return; this man had already shot one police officer," Whowell said.
SWAT team members fired multiple rounds, hitting Anderson, who was pronounced dead at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights soon after 11 p.m. An autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner ruled Anderson's death a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds. The shooting will be reviewed by the Illinois State Police public integrity unit, a standard procedure in cases like this, police said.
In the final moments before Anderson was shot, the woman was able to escape from Anderson unharmed. She refused medical treatment at the scene.
Documents show that the woman was a Crystal Lake resident who had briefly dated Anderson. After she broke up with him in late November he began obsessively stalking her, according to an order of protection that was filed in McHenry County on Dec. 9. He followed her to work, to home and to visits with friends, as well as texting, calling and emailing her several times a day, she said in the document. According to the report, at one point he was following her in his car and came up to her window while they were at a stoplight and punched her rolled-up window. He also told her he knew how to get into her home without her alarm going off, she wrote.
On Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, Anderson was arrested, both times for sending harassing emails to the woman after being told by Crystal Lake police to leave her alone. Anderson bonded out on both arrests.
"I am asking for this order of protection so I can be safe," the woman wrote in a petition for the order the day after Anderson's second arrest. "I feel he may still try to contact me after this (order). I just want him to leave me alone, that's all I ask."
Records show Anderson had several other run-ins with law enforcement over the years.
According to Cook County court documents, he was charged with several residential burglaries in 1990, for which he pleaded guilty and received five years' probation. In October 1990, he failed to show up for a court-ordered residential drug treatment program, and when he did appear, he left the program a few days later against staff recommendations.
In 1991, he was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation, according to court records. He served some of that sentence and was released. In 1993, he was charged with criminal damage to property and resisting or obstructing a peace officer. On those charges he served probation.
He was again charged with criminal damage to property in 1998 and received probation.
A person who answered the phone early Friday at Anderson's home in Niles hung up without commenting. A man who answered the door said the family had no comment.
It was a scary night for the neighborhood where the shooting and standoff occurred. Police evacuated several homes, sent robocalls to the larger neighborhood and closed roads for hours.
Those in the area heard the original gunshot, followed by countless sirens as officers from other departments quickly arrived. Within the first hour the SWAT team shot out the streetlights. Helicopters flew overhead. After more shots were fired, bringing the hostage situation to an end, officers spent hours on investigation and cleanup at the scene.
Meanwhile, another large crowd of officers sat vigil overnight as McEvoy, in critical condition, underwent surgeries at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. Officers described the 23-year departmental veteran, who is not married and doesn't have any children, as a good man who loved his job as a patrol officer and forensic technician.
On Friday, McEvoy's condition was upgraded to stable, but the 52-year-old officer remained in an induced coma as a precaution, Whowell said. McEvoy will likely face more surgeries, he said. None of them is life threatening, and McEvoy is expected to fully recover, he added.
"He is a valued member of our agency," Whowell said. "He is held in very high regard here."
Mayor Tom Hayes said he was glad the night didn't turn out any worse.
"It's certainly unfortunate for everyone involved," Hayes said. "I think the police handled it very professionally and as well as could be expected. I'm glad we could get the situation resolved with no other injuries to innocent people."
• Staff writers Barbara Vitello, Lee Filas, Christopher Placek and Eric Peterson contributed to this report.