CHICAGO (CBS) — Michael Craig was a victim of domestic violence who called the police for help – but when officers arrived they took his life instead.
It has been almost a year since Craig was shot and killed in his home in Auburn’s Gresham neighborhood. CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey spoke exclusively to Craig’s family – who told her a wrongful death lawsuit filed on Monday was their last resort.
The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court. Craig’s family also continues to call for criminal charges against the officer who fired the shots and is asking for a dialogue with the city.
Craig’s son, Patrick Jenkins, pointed out that it was his father who called 911.
Craig told police on October 4, 2021, “My wife has a knife on me on the bed. Right now. On my throat.”
The lawsuit filed Monday in the federal jurisdiction of the Northern District of Illinois alleges that Chicago police officer Alberto Covarrubias and his partner were told at least four times that Craig, 61, was a victim of domestic violence.
Craig said his wife was having a mental health episode and tried to stab him.
But when Officer Covarrubias entered the flat, attorney Michael Oppenheimer said what followed was something that “sounded like something out of a horror movie”.
With a Taser and a gun drawn, body camera video shows the officer shooting Craig.
Oppenheimer, who represents the family, says Covarrubias didn’t stop there.
“Then he puts the killing blow on Michael Craig for no reason,” Oppenheimer said. “This man is a victim of domestic violence and Officer Covarrubias killed a victim of domestic violence.”
Jenkins, Craig’s son, must now pick up the pieces. He took custody of his now 8-year-old brother, who was seen here on body camera video – also telling police his ‘mom’ had the knife.
Jenkins said Chicago police did “everything” wrong about the situation.
The record not only alleges that officers misinterpreted what was happening.
“Officer Covarrubias murdered Michael Craig,” Oppenheimer said. “He shot him in cold blood.”
Craig’s son said he wanted additional domestic violence training for officers.
He wants charges laid against Constable Covarrubias.
He also wants to know why the officers there didn’t try to help him right after the shooting.
“To see someone go through this — knowing they could have been saved, or there’s something you could have done — and nothing,” Jenkins said.
But more importantly, Jenkins wants to sit down with the city and start a dialogue about ways to prevent this kind of tragedy.
“We haven’t heard from anyone from the city of Chicago,” Jenkins said. “No excuses – anything.”
We contacted the city’s legal department for comment. We hadn’t heard from just before 6 p.m.
CPD tells us that Officer Covarrubias is an active member of their department. He had previously been suspended for a 2016 incident in which his dismissal was recommended.