Chicago (CBS) Michael Craig was a domestic violence victim who sought help from the police – but when the officers arrived, they committed suicide instead.
It’s been nearly a year since Craig was shot and killed at his home in the Auburn neighborhood of Gresham. CBS2 investigator Megan Hickey spoke exclusively to Craig’s family – who told her that Monday’s wrongful-death lawsuit was their last resort.
The lawsuit was filed in US District Court. Craig’s family is still calling for criminal charges to be brought for the officer who fired the shots, and for a dialogue with the city.
Craig’s son, Patrick Jenkins, confirmed that it was his father who called 911.
Craig told police on October 4, 2021: “My wife got a knife on the bed. Immediately. On my throat.”
The lawsuit, filed Monday in the federal jurisdiction for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges that Chicago police officer Alberto Covarrubias and his partner were told at least four different times that Craig, 61, had been a victim of domestic violence.
Craig said his wife was having a mental health episode and was trying to stab him.
But when Officer Covarrubias entered the apartment, attorney Michael Oppenheimer said what followed were “scenes like a horror movie.”
With a stun gun and a shotgun, a video camera on the body shows the officer shooting Craig.
Oppenheimer, who represents the family, says Covarrubias didn’t stop there.
“Then he fired the fatal shot at Michael Craig for no reason at all,” Oppenheimer said. “This man is a victim of domestic violence, and Officer Covarrubias murdered a victim of domestic violence.”
Jenkins, Craig’s son, is left to pick up the pieces. He has arrested his now 8-year-old brother, who was seen here on video camera – he also told the police that his “mother” had the knife.
Jenkins said Chicago police did “everything” wrong with the situation.
Not only is the filing alleging that the officers misinterpreted what was happening.
“Officer Covarrubias killed Michael Craig,” Oppenheimer said. “Shot him in cold blood.”
Craig’s son said he wanted additional domestic violence training for officers.
He wants to bring charges against Officer Covarrubias.
He also wants to know why the officers on the scene did not try to help him right after the shooting.
“To see anyone going through this — knowing that they could have been saved, or that there was something you could have done — and nothing,” Jenkins said.
But more importantly, Jenkins wants to sit down with the city and start a conversation about ways this kind of tragedy can be prevented.
“We haven’t heard anything from anyone from Chicago,” Jenkins said. “No apology – nothing.”
We have reached out to the city’s law department for comment. We didn’t get any response until 6pm
CPD tells us Officer Covarrubias is an active member of their department. It has already been suspended due to the 2016 incident in which it was recommended that it be terminated.