Neighbor describes man shot by police as ‘completely normal’

Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 5:50 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA TOWNSHIP – Ian Avery said he didn’t know what could have compelled his friend Luke Bulzak to point a rifle at Kane County Sheriff’s Office deputies Monday morning during an incident at Bulzak’s residence.

A sergeant who was at the scene shot Bulzak, 52, and he later died.

“He was not the type of guy to do that,” said Avery, who lived near Bulzak in the Heritage West subdivision. “He was completely normal. I’ve never seen him upset. I really want to know what made him do it.”

In a news release issued Monday from the sheriff’s office, police said they encountered Bulzak outside his residence with a rifle. Police said they were dispatched at 11:40 a.m. Monday to the 3S300 block of Elfstrom Trail in Batavia Township for a report of a man making suicidal threats.

Police said they tried to get Bulzak to drop the rifle, but he refused and pointed it at the deputies. The sergeant then shot Bulzak. No one else was injured in the incident.

Bulzak was on the roof, Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler said.

“He was on his roof and pointed the rifle at our officers when he was shot,” Gengler said. “There is a major tactical advantage for him being on the roof.”

The sergeant who shot Bulzak is a 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. The sergeant was placed on paid administrative leave, pending a review of the incident, police said. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police were conducting a review of the incident.

Incidents like this are rare in Kane County, Gengler said.

“2003 was the last time a deputy discharged their weapon, but the last time there was a fatal officer-involved shooting by our agency was at least 20 years ago,” he said.

The Kane County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy Tuesday, and toxicology samples will be sent to a forensics lab.

Avery, 17, said he was not home at the time of the incident. Avery said he and Bulzak were close friends. Bulzak suffered from Parkinson’s disease, Avery said.

“I was probably the closest thing he had to a son,” Avery said. “He didn’t have kids. He just needed help around the yard. I helped him fix his pool in the last couple of weeks.”

In turn, Bulzak always lent a hand to others, Avery said.

“He was so willing to do things for other people,” Avery said. “He helped me put a stereo in my car.”

Bulzak’s wife, Anita, said her husband “was a wonderful man,” but said she did not want to comment about the incident.

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