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Suit: Slow 911 response time led to store owner’s 2009 slaying

From left: Kerry Masterson, Beatrice Rosado, Elvin Payton | Illinois Department of Corrections

The family of a West Side store owner who was tied up and shot to death during a 2009 robbery claims 911 dispatchers were too slow to send police officers to the scene and could have prevented the man’s death.

A witness called 911 late May 14, 2009 after seeing someone in a ski mask storm into Michael J. Norton’s convenience store at 4759 W. North Ave., lock the door and shut the shades, according to the suit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Although the call of a possible armed robbery was listed as priority, police were not dispatched until 10 minutes later, after the witness called 911 again, the suit alleges.

Officers arrived about a minute after the second call, but Norton had been shot less than two minutes before they got there, the suit claims.

Police found the 55-year-old Glen Ellyn resident in the back of his store with a bullet wound to the back of the head, with his hands and feet bound, authorities said at the time.

“Had Dispatch performed its duties . . . Mr. Norton would not have been murdered,” the suit says.

The City of Chicago and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications are listed as defendants. A city Law Department spokesman said they had not yet reviewed the suit and declined to comment Friday evening.

The three-count wrongful death suit filed by Norton’s daughter is seeking at least $150,000 in damages, plus court costs.

Three people were sentenced in 2010 for Norton’s murder. Elvin Payton, now 33, received 47 years in prison for planning and carrying out the robbery along with 30-year-old Kerry Masterson, who got 58 years for pulling the trigger. Beatrice Rosado, now 31, was sentenced to 22 years for driving the getaway car.

Norton had evicted Payton and Rosado from an apartment above the store a few weeks before the robbery, and they thought it would be an “easy target,” prosecutors said at the time.