Park Forest officer charged in 95-year-old veteran’s death

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(PARK FOREST) A south suburban police officer has been charged with reckless conduct in connection with the death of a 95-year-old veteran at an assisted-living center last year.

Park Forest officer Craig Taylor, 43, faces a felony count of reckless conduct in connection with John Wrana’s death on July 26, 2013, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

Taylor is expected to appear in bond court at 26th and California on Wednesday.

Wrana, a distinguished U.S. Air Corps sergeant in World War II, died after he was shot in the stomach with a bean-bag gun by police after he allegedly confronted police officers with a butcher knife, cane and shoehorn at his assisted-living home in Park Forest, authorities said at the time.

Police said last year the incident began when Wrana threatened paramedics and staff at Victory Centre of Park Forest with a metal cane and a 2-foot-long metal shoehorn, according to police.

They said that when officers arrived, Wrana refused to drop the items and grabbed a 12-inch butcher knife, threatening police.

After officers were unable to subdue him with a stun gun, an officer shot Wrana with the bean-bag gun, police said.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office ruled Wrana’s death a homicide, and an autopsy showed he died from being shot in the stomach with the 12-gauge shotgun, which fires a small bag filled with lead shot weighing about 1.4 ounces.

Nicholas Grapsas, an attorney representing Wrana’s family, said at the time his death was outrageous.

“There wasn’t one level-headed person to say, ‘Hey, what are we doing and why are we doing this to a 95-year-old person’? ” Grapsas said. “It begs a lot of questions.”

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