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Sheriff urges public, media to not ‘rush to judgment’

Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez issued a statement to media and the public Wednesday, asking them to hold back on speculation and “armchair quarterbacking” until all the facts are available regarding Monday’s shooting death of Luke Bulzak of Batavia Township by a sheriff’s deputy. 

Perez said his statement refers to online commentary on competing news outlet reports.

“There were disturbing comments that we shot an unarmed man,” Perez said. “We are not saying he was a good person; we’re not saying he was a bad person. We were in a position where we had to do what we did to stop the threat.”

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 Bulzak was on his roof and they tried to get him 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.

Deputies train for situations like these, but hope they never have to use their training, Perez said.

“One of us is going to get shot, or someone else is going to get shot,” Perez said of the situation with Bulzak on his roof with a rifle. “There is no good resolution to something like this.”

Perez said he issued the statement to make sure both the public and the media do not get into a “rush to judgment” or speculate about things they don’t know about.

“We have the wife of a victim. We have deputies who were on the scene and a sergeant who had to pull the trigger,” Perez said. “They will have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. This is not something we take lightly. Everybody take a deep breath and let the process work itself through.”

Perez’s statement asks “that the media and the readers who wish to comment on how the incident should have been resolved allow the investigative process to take place and all the facts to be reviewed before speculating and theorizing.

“When the time is appropriate, all findings will be released to the public. Until then, this is an ongoing investigation and will not be compromised. Thank you for your understanding,” the statement read, in part.

Perez’s statement also said the department’s condolences go out to the Bulzak family for their loss, and it said the department is providing services to help deputies cope with the stress of the situation.

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