Bank robbery suspect used elderly man as human shield before officers shot him, police say

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NORTH RIVERSIDE -- What started as a bank robbery attempt spilled over to a neighboring Burlington Coat Factory where officers confronted and shot the suspect, but not before he tried to use an elderly customer as a shield.

The trouble started at 12:28 p.m. Tuesday, when North Riverside officers responded to a bank robbery attempt at a TCF Bank inside a Jewel grocery store. When they arrived, officers approached a man walking away from the scene and ordered him to the ground. He refused, police say, removing an object from his pocket and pointing at them before running into a nearby Burlington Coat Factory. The store was open, and employees and staff and customers were present, with many were out shopping and observing the holidays.

In a statement, police said the man removed an object from his pocket and pointed it at them several more times. They described what happened next:

"As officers closed in on the suspect he grabbed an elderly man and held him at knifepoint in an attempt to use him as a human shield. The man resisted and pulled away from the suspect enough to allow officers to discharge their firearms striking the offender."

Frank Tortorich crossed paths with the man as he was leaving Burlington, although he said he didn't appear to have a gun.

"I saw him run in there. I saw him take out something. I just sort of turned away and walked," Tortorich said.

The man who was shot was identified only as a "41 year old Chicago male suspect from Chicago." He was rushed to nearby Loyola Hospital, but information on his condition is not available. No other injuries were reported.

Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting, a North Riverside representative said Tuesday. With plenty of cameras nearby, odds are at least one of them captured the events leading up to, during, and after the shooting. The FBI is also assisting in with the investigation.

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