No clue on tapes why cops shot man with bean bag gun
By Casey toner firstname.lastname@example.org February 7, 2014 8:48PM
John Wrana | Submitted photo
Updated: March 10, 2014 6:45AM
The elderly nursing home resident wasn’t going without a fight, and it cost him his life.
John Wrana, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, refused to leave Victory Centre in Park Forest on July 27 to be taken to a hospital and became belligerent to the point that staff called police.
“We have a resident that is threatening to harm other residents and staff,” said an employee, according to the 911 recording obtained by the SouthtownStar. “The EMTs are here now, and he is trying to hit them ...”
Minutes later, Wrana grabbed a knife and barricaded himself in his room, according to the recording.
The officers who responded initially called for reinforcements, according to a different recorded conversation between police at the scene and those elsewhere.
“Do you have a less lethal (weapon than a gun) there?” an officer asks one of those at the scene.
“We do not at this time,” the other officer responds.
“Bring yours up there,” the first officer tells a third officer. “I’m going to bring the (riot) shield.”
The recordings indicate a somewhat chaotic scene at the nursing home but shed no light on what led an officer to fire beanbag shots from a shotgun at Wrana, a move that eventually killed him.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled Wrana’s death a homicide, and an autopsy showed he died from being shot multiple times from the shotgun, which fires small bags filled with lead shot, each weighing about 1.4 ounces.
Wrana’s death remains under investigation six months later. Illinois State Police have refused to release their investigative report on the shooting that has been submitted to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office for possible charges.
A spokesman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez declined to comment on the report or when Alvarez would decide whether to file a criminal case against Park Forest police.
Attorney Nicholas Grapsas, who’s representing Wrana’s family, questioned why Alvarez was taking so long to make a decision.
“The people of Park Forest, Cook County and the people of the state deserve a hell of a lot better than (they are getting from) the people who are supposed to work for them as we’ve seen here,” Grapsas said. “I have to ask myself if John Wrana’s name was politically connected, or he was someone other than a 95-year-old war hero who they think nobody would care about, whether this investigation would have lasted five months.”
Police said Wrana threatened staff at Victory Centre and paramedics with a metal cane and a 2-foot-long metal shoehorn and then brandished a 12-inch butcher knife when officers arrived. Wrana’s family contends he was suffering from a urinary tract infection, which can cause delusional behavior.
The police recordings indicate a police officer at the nursing home was waiting for help before proceeding.
“We have a key to the door (to Wrana’s room), but when you come up can you bring a shield in case we need it?” the officer says.
Police said an officer shot Wrana with the beanbag gun after police were unable to subdue him with a stun gun.
The SouthtownStar previously reported that Park Forest police had not fired the beanbag gun during a confrontation while on duty in 10 years until using it against Wrana.
The police department’s policy manual says use of the shotgun should take into consideration the target’s “physical factors,” including age, size, relative strength and injury/exhaustion as well as the number of police officers present with the target.
Park Forest Police Chief Cliff Butz could not be reached for comment. No officers have been disciplined regarding Wrana’s shooting.