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University of Chicago student shot by police free on bond

University of Chicago student Charles Thomas, who was shot by campus police on Tuesday. | Facebook photo

A University of Chicago student who was shot by campus police earlier this month, and later charged with assaulting the officer and smashing cars and windows, is free on bond.

A hearing Thursday marked the first time Charles Thomas had appeared in court since he suffered a wound to his shoulder and a collapsed lung after being shot.

Charles, who had been hospitalized, was not jailed prior to his court appearance, and will remain free on $15,000 bond.

He will also wear an electronic monitoring anklet while his case plays out in court, according to court records.

“Charles is an articulate and accomplished young man who is receiving psychiatric treatment weekly at Northwestern Hospital,” said his attorney, Jeffrey Urdangen.

RELATED STORY: U. of C. officer showed ‘great restraint’ before shooting student, expert says

Thomas, a fourth-year political science major, faces charges of aggravated assault of a police officer and criminal damage to property.

Multiple campus police squad cars arrived at an alley in the 5300 block of South Kimbark the night of April 3, where residents had reported Thomas smashing windows on cars and apartments.

Video from the body-camera worn by the officer who shot Thomas showed the student shouting and walking toward the officer, wielding a metal pole that the officers thought was a crowbar. The officer backed away while ordering Thomas to stop and drop the bar, but Thomas continues walking forward, then runs at the officer, who fired once. The pole was identified in a police report as a “tent stake.”

News of the shooting, and the scenes captured on video, stunned those who know Thomas as a well-liked member of the school’s crew team. Thomas’ mother, Kathleen Thomas, told the U. of C.s’ student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, that her son had no history of mental illness, though members of his family have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental illness characterized by periodic manic episodes.

“To me it was obvious he was having some sort of psychiatric episode, a manic episode,” she said. “That was not the Charles I know. All through him growing up and his teenage years, I’ve only seen him get slightly angry a couple times.”

One of Thomas’ roommates said he had visited the university’s student counseling office in recent weeks and was referred to an outside agency for help.

The shooting had prompted protests on the Hyde Park campus, with about 200 students leading a recent march, bearing signs that called on the university to disarm campus officers.