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State: Police fatal shooting justified

[VIDEO] Evanston police say a state police report to be issued tomorrow will conclude that city officers acted appropriately when they shot and killed a knife-wielding man in the basement of a Church Street apartment building last month

In a meeting with reporters this morning Police Chief Richard Eddington called the shooting a tragedy that was made unavoidable by the behavior of the dead man, 32-year-old Desrick York.

Eddington said York had been drinking heavily all weekend and apparently had also been smoking marijuana when he started arguing with his landlord and a handyman who worked for the landlord at the building at 1810 Church St.

He reportedly became enraged that the landlord would not return his security deposit money even though he had not yet moved out of the building.

The landlord managed to flee, but the chief said that when police arrived they found York standing in the building’s cramped basement brandishing a four-inch folding knife and threatening the handyman who was lying on the floor beneath him.

The chief said the officers repeatedly demanded that York drop the knife but that instead he advanced toward them. As one officer reached out to push York away, he and the other officers fired a total of 11 shots, although Eddington said the gunfire lasted perhaps only a total of three seconds and witnesses reported hearing only three or four shots.

One bullet hit the outstretched hand of the officer who tried to push York back, causing injuries that required amputation of a finger. York was pronounced dead at the scene.

Eddington said the city has received notice from an attorney representing York’s family that he plans to file suit over the incident. The chief said he plans to attend a 5th Ward meeting Thursday evening at the Fleetwood-Jourdain center to address community concerns about the incident.

He said two of the officers involved have returned to duty after passing a psychological evaluation and the officer who was shot remains on sick leave because of his injury.

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