Police: Man repeatedly threatened to kill Elgin officer involved in fatal March shooting

  • James M. Luecke is held on $150,000 bail.

    James M. Luecke is held on $150,000 bail.

Updated 11/6/2018 4:32 PM

A homeless man is held on $150,000 bail on charges he repeatedly threatened to kill an Elgin police officer involved in a fatal shooting on Interstate 90 in March 2018.

James M. Luecke, 53, is charged with a felony count of threatening a public official and misdemeanor damage to property after an early morning incident Oct. 29 in which he threw a crosswalk sign into the front window of the Elgin Police station, damaged a city-owned mailbox used to hold downtown maps for visitors and repeatedly said he wanted to kill Lt. Christian Jensen.


According to an Elgin police report, Luecke said into the police intercom that Jensen killed an "innocent woman," that he knew where Jensen lived and made an evil laugh.

Police found Luecke near a parking deck and an officer asked Luecke if he was trying to get arrested.

"I'm trying to get closer to Officer Jensen so I can kill him," Luecke replied just before he was arrested, the police report stated. After two officers brought Luecke to the station, he repeatedly said: "You guys killed my friend Cynthia. I'm gonna stay alive just to kill you (expletive)."

Decynthia Clements, 34, was killed March 12 after an hourlong standoff with police along Interstate 90. Body camera video shows officers asked Clements several times to exit her sport utility vehicle. They approached the vehicle after she lit a fire inside. Clements exited holding a steak knife, took one step and was shot three times by Jensen. The 19-year veteran of the department is on paid leave.

The shooting drew protests at the department and Clements' family has filed a federal lawsuit in the case. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office is reviewing whether the shooting was justified.

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Luecke was arrested in May 2012 and charged with threatening to kill a Carpentersville police officer and a felony hate crime for repeatedly calling his neighbor the N-word. He eventually pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property and was sentenced to 22 months in prison, but could have his sentenced reduced by half for good behavior, court records show.

Luecke was arrested in May 2013 and charged with beating a man in downtown Elgin near the Metra station, records show. He pleaded guilty to felony aggravated battery and was sentenced to two years prison, the minimum charge for that felony.

Prosecutors wrote in court filings that Luecke had been to prison five times and had several felony convictions.

At the time of this arrest last week, Luecke was free on a personal recognizance bond issued by Judge Elizabeth Flood after his May 25, 2018 arrest, for disorderly conduct at Festival Park, 132. S. Grove Ave., records show. Luecke is accused of being "visibly intoxicated and screaming obscenities" at women and children at the park, according to court records.

"He further made racist comments to members of the community, calling them a (N-word) and telling them that he voted for Trump and they should not be living here," according to court records.

He is held on $150,000 bail, meaning he must post $15,000 to be released while the case is pending. If convicted of the most severe charge, Luecke faces a punishment ranging from probation to up to seven years in prison.

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