Chicago police shot and killed a man at an 'L' station Sunday night when they said he pointed two pistols at officers.
A spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police said it appeared the gunman may have committed "suicide by cop."
The dead man was identified this morning by the Cook County medical examinerr's office as Frank Steponaitis, 55, of the 2000 block of South Blue Island Avenue.
The incident began with officers responding to calls of a man with a gun at the Western/Cermak Pink Line station in the 2000 block of South Western Avenue at about 8 p.m., according to police and FOP spokesman Pat Camden.
When officers from the Monroe District arrived, they found Steponaitis holding a gun to his own head, Camden said. The officers tried calming him and getting him to drop the weapon and end the standoff. But Steponaitis then pulled a second handgun and pointed both at officers, Camden said.
The officers, put in a "defensive posture," fired their weapons, striking Steponaitis. He was later pronounced dead, Camden said.
No officers were injured during the incident.
In a formal statement, Chicago police confirmed that officers tried to calm the gunman and that he pointed his weapon at officers, though they only mentioned a single weapon.
Camden said it appeared that the gunman may have intentionally provoked officers into shooting him in a phenomenon commonly called suicide by cop.
Legal experts said statistics are hard to gather on how often suicide by cop occurs because of the diffculty in determining whether an offender is merely aggressive or suicidal.
"Police may confront shootings motivated by suicidal subjects more often than reports
indicate," according to an article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
Police didn't comment on Steponaitis' mental state, but court records show that following a 1994 conviction for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, he was sentenced to undergo 30 months of inpatient alcoholism treatment and intensive outpatient psychiatric treatment. His completion of the programs were "satisfactory," court records show.
Camden, meanwhile, said he hoped armed offenders "find another way" to resolve their problems instead of pulling guns on cops -- something he said could leave emotional scars on the officers.
The shooting is being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates all police-involved shootings.Copyright © 2015, RedEye