Cop justified in shooting of schizophrenic man in Glendale Heights: prosecutor

SHARE Cop justified in shooting of schizophrenic man in Glendale Heights: prosecutor
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George Almeida | DuPage County sheriff’s office

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin ruled that a Glendale Heights cop was justified in shooting a man with schizophrenia who allegedly menaced officers with knives when they showed up at his home last year in the northwest suburb.

Around 1 a.m. Dec. 28, officers responded to a domestic disturbance at the home in the first block of Joseph Lane, Glendale Heights police and the state’s attorney’s office said at the time.

When officers arrived, they found 49-year-old George Almeida armed with multiple knives in the home’s garage, authorities said. Almeida allegedly ignored commands to drop the knives and instead began approaching the officers.

Officer Krzysztof Padyasek then fired four shots, striking Almeida once in his hip, according to a statement from the state’s attorney’s office. Following an investigation, Berlin said he wouldn’t pursue charges against Padyasek and called the officer’s actions “justified.”

“Every case involving the use of deadly force by a police officer must be carefully and throughly investigated,” Berlin said in the statement. “Such scrutiny is required to ensure the protection of the civil rights of those involved and to maintain the public’s confidence in law enforcement.”

After being treated at a hospital, Almeida was released into police custody, authorities said. He was then charged with with a felony count of aggravated assault with a weapon on an officer and misdemeanor counts of domestic battery and interference with emergency communications over citizen’s band radio, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Almeida was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1989, according to his mother, Connie Almeida.

Two days after the shooting, Connie Almeida told the Sun-Times that her son’s condition had recently worsened after he stopped taking some of his psych medications. Early that December morning, she called the cops in an effort to bring him under control.

Connie Almeida rejected much of the narrative laid out by police and prosecutors, calling their accounts “a bunch of lies.” She said George Almeida had put away three or four knives before the responding officers showed up at their home and that he complied with their orders when they arrived. Additionally, she claimed that he didn’t approach the officers before one of them opened fire.

Almeida remains in custody at the DuPage County jail. His next court date was set for Feb. 12, according to the DuPage County sheriff’s office.

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