Bensenville officer recovering from shooting; suspect denied bail
Bail was denied Sunday for the man accused of shooting a Bensenville police officer multiple times Saturday, leaving him seriously injured with bullet wounds to both legs, his arm and back.
Kiante Tyler, 21, of the 100 block of South York Road in Bensenville, appeared in court early Sunday before DuPage County Associate Judge James Orel. He was surrounded by at least six correctional officers.
Tyler is charged with one count of attempted murder and three counts of aggravated battery.
Officer Steven Kotlewski remained hospitalized Sunday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. His father-in-law, Dave Stachura, said Kotlewski is still intubated, but is conscious and communicating via pen and paper. Kotlewski underwent eight hours of surgery Saturday morning, and more surgeries are planned.
The shooting occurred shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, when Tyler's mother, Kenya Bentley, called police to the family's Bensenville apartment for help in getting Tyler to leave, Assistant DuPage County State's Attorney Helen Kapas said in court.
Kotlewski, the first to arrive, entered the second-floor apartment and greeted Bentley, who was in the living room. According to the audio of a body camera video played in court, Kotlewski then greeted Tyler and said "What's the trouble?" before being shot.
Kapas said Tyler fired at least 10 rounds from a 9-millimeter handgun. Kotlewski fell down a stairwell and began crawling until fellow officers found him, applied tourniquets to his legs and took him to a fire station.
Kotlewski's bodycam video was shown only to the judge and attorneys. But the audio recorded the shots, and Kotlewski and Tyler's mom screaming.
As it played in court, Bentley exclaimed, "I'm so sorry!"
Kotlewski was shot three times in each leg, breaking both thigh bones, Kapas said. A femoral artery and femoral vein were severed, she said.
Kotlewski also suffered bullet wounds in the upper arm and in the back, damaging his spine, liver and a kidney. Another bullet lodged in his vest in the back, Kapas said. He required a transfusion of 14 pints of blood Saturday, the prosecutor said.
Assistant Public Defender Steve Dalton said Tyler could not provide basic identity information before court, and that his affect was "inappropriate." Tyler appeared in court wearing a yellow jumpsuit, which are typically worn by detainees the jail believes may have mental-health risks.
Dalton said Tyler's mother and aunts told him Tyler's behavior had changed in August, but that he had not been evaluated or treated for a mental illness. He asked for a "reasonable" bail, but also told the judge the family did not want to post bond, because they prefer Tyler remain in jail and undergo a mental-health evaluation.
Outside of court, his aunts said they believe Tyler is mentally ill, and that it may have been brought on by the use of the hallucinogen PCP. They said Tyler is a graduate of Proviso East High School, where he played football, and had attended college and worked for Walmart. They described him as a respectful and cheerful person, until recently.
"Everybody loved him," said his aunt, Alfarae Alexander.
Bentley said she did not know her son had a gun.
"If you see him now, and then (in the past), you would know this is a whole other person," she said. "He's not a yeller. He's not a violent person. He's quiet."
If convicted of attempted murder, Tyler would face a mandatory 20 to 60 years in prison, plus possibly another 25 years to life because the crime involved a gun.
Support for officer
Several greeting cards and flowers were left by the public Sunday on a counter inside the Bensenville Police Department.
Kotlewski's sister-in-law, Ellie Murphy, has started a GoFundMe.com fund, called "Law Enforcement Family In Need," to help with expenses. Kotlewski is married, and his wife is a stay-at-home mom to their three young children, Murphy said.
In addition to the injuries Kapas mentioned, Murphy said on the GoFundMe site that Kotlewski also suffered damage to his knees, colon and diaphragm.