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Man who attempted suicide-by-cop takes plea deal

Howard Lazarus

Howard Lazarus

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Updated: September 14, 2013 6:14AM

Under a negotiated plea, a Mundelein man received a sentence of periodic imprisonment and several other conditions Monday for inciting a Vernon Hills police officer to shoot him earlier this year in what was termed as an attempted “death by cop.”

Howard Lazarus, 53, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a Class 4 felony, for walking into the Vernon Hills Police Department just after midnight April 3 and claiming he needed to report an accident.

Instead, he pulled out an airsoft replica pistol, which resembles a semi-automatic handgun, and pointed it at the responding officer, who eventually shot him in the abdomen.

Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Shanes approved the plea deal, which calls for nine months periodic imprisonment, requires Lazarus to write a letter of apology to the police officer, mandates mental health treatment and allows Lazarus no contact with the officers involved in the incident.

The deal was negotiated between Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Kalcheim Rothenberg and Public Defender Keith Grant.

Rothenberg said that time Lazarus has already spent in Lake County jail will be counted toward the sentence, leaving him with about six months of periodic imprisonment left to serve.

After Lazarus pulled out the fake gun April 3, he advanced toward the officer and asked the officer to shoot him.

He also had in his possession a note stating that he was dying of cancer and could not “do the deed myself.”

The mental state of Lazarus was a factor in the hearings leading up to the negotiated plea, with mental health treatment being cited as a necessity by both the prosecution and defense.

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