Suspect shot himself on I-294 after fleeing police

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A shoplifting suspect in northwest Indiana fatally shot himself after fleeing police and crashing Monday afternoon on I-294 in South Holland.

At 12:13 p.m., a store supervisor at Cabela’s, 7700 Cabela’s Dr. in Hammond, called police and reported a possible shoplifter inside the store, according to Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda.

One officer entered the store and a second went to another location to watch surveillance video of a man who appeared to be taking items and concealing them, according to Hoyda. Both officers waited until the man left the store, then went after him.

The suspect ran away and the officers pursued him, Hoyda said. One of the officers ran past the suspect, who was hiding by some boats outside the store. The man then ran back toward the front entrance of Cabela’s.

One of the officers fired ordered the man to stop several times then fired his Taser, which did not appear to have any affect, Hoyda said. The man pulled out a handgun and fired at the officer, who was not hit.

The same officer tried a second time to hit the man with his Taser, but he ran away and got inside his silver Honda Civic, Hoyda said.

One of the officers chased the Honda north on Indianapolis Boulevard from Cabela’s, Hoyda said. The suspect took a u-turn on Indianpolis Boulevard and got onto westbound I-80/94.

The suspect merged onto I-294 and stopped his car on the ramp to the Lincoln Oasis in South Holland, Hoyda said. The officer who was chasing him got out of his car and saw a puff of powdered smoke inside the Honda.

The suspect shot himself in the head, according to Hoyda and Illinois State Police. He was dead at the scene.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified him as 34-year-old Palak P. Desai of the 600 block of Hundley Street in Hoffman Estates. An autopsy Tuesday did not rule on his cause or manner of death pending further studies.

No shots were fired by police officers, according to the statement.

Several items stolen from Cabela’s by the suspect were recovered outside the store by employees, Hoyda said.

Illinois State Police and Hammond police are investigating the suicide and Hammond police are investigating the shoplifting incident.

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