Michael Craig, a 61-year-old Chicago man who called 911 to ask for help during a domestic disturbance incident with his wife, was fatally shot by one of the responding officers just seconds after he entered their home.
According to Chicago Sun-Times, the October 4 incident unfolded shortly after Craig woke up. The deceased father called 911 to report his wife had a knife on his throat while he was in bed, a recording released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability revealed. Craig’s 7-year-old son also witnessed the incident.
“I need the police over here, my wife’s got a knife on my neck, on the bed. Are there any officers coming here?” Craig asked in the 911 call.
“She’s got a knife on my neck, and I can’t move. If I move she’ll kill me. I’ve got the front door open, tell the officers the door is open, my kid is opening the door,” Craig said before issuing out instructions to his son. “Go downstairs so you can let the police in. Go. Do like I said, go downstairs.”
The first officer who entered Craig’s home shot him twice just seconds after making his way in. “Everything my father told them, everything he cried out for, they ignored,” Craig’s son, Patrick Jenkins told the news outlet. “And then they let him die like a dog.”
Prior to the officer’s arrival, Craig’s son also notified a neighbor about what was going on in their home. The neighbor also called 911 to report that Craig’s wife was threatening Craig. And when the officer arrived, Craig’s son also informed him his mother was armed with a knife, and his father had told him to call the police. While nearing the door with his taser drawn, the officer shouted at the people in the home. Craig responded saying, “She’s got a butcher knife to my neck.”
After a scream was heard inside the home, the officer pulled out his pistol. The gun was in the officer’s right hand while the taser was in his left hand. The officer ended up discharging both the gun and taser at the couple when he made contact with them. Craig and his wife were running across a hallway at the time, Chicago Sun-Times reported. And while Craig and his wife were on the floor, the officer shot him the second time when he tried sitting up.
“Every bit of evidence (police) had on the way to the scene, the statements by Craig himself, point to him being the victim, but he fires those shots with no hesitation” Craig’s family attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, said.
The officer who opened fire later told another responding officer Craig was the one who had the knife, and he “was poking” his wife with it. That was after the second officer asked him who was armed with the knife. Craig’s wife did not also respond when she was asked if she had sustained any injuries.
“There was no sign that he was holding a knife. It was on the floor behind him, closer to her,” Oppenheimer said. The lawyer also revealed Craig had rather sustained knife wounds and his wife wasn’t hurt. “He was the victim here, and they knew that. They made him a victim again,” Oppenheimer added.
Oppenheimer also said Craig’s wife had initially received medical attention for mental health issues. Neighbors also said the couple had a history of domestic disturbance confrontations, and police had come to their home on a number of occasions. The couple was married for 10 years.
Meanwhile, the officer who fatally shot Craig was identified as Alberto Covarrubias. CBS Chicago reported that Chicago’s Superintendent, in 2018, called for Covarrubias’ termination following a 2016 incident. Covarrubias was rather suspended.
The Superintendent had wanted Covarrubias terminated after the officer threatened to attack a colleague officer. Besides that, Covarrubias also allegedly stole police documents in a drunken domestic disturbance incident.
Oppenheimer said Craig wouldn’t be dead if Covarrubias had been fired. “The Chicago police board by a vote of 9-0 voted to reinstate him into the Chicago Police Department. If officer Covarrubias had been taken off the street because they realized he was danger to the community and to the police department, and unfit to wear a badge and carry a weapon, Michael Craig would be alive today,” Oppenheimer said.
Covarrubias has since been placed on administrative leave pending investigations into the fatal encounter. Craig’s family want Covarrubias relieved of his duties.