Lombard: Berlin Finds Officer Justified in Shooting

By Kathy Whitaker, The Chicago Times

March 3, 2023

WHEATON, IL – DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin announced on Thursday that a Lombard police officer was justified in the shooting of an armed suspect back in December of 2022.

According to Berlin, “. . . it was determined after an extensive investigation surrounding the shooting of Pierre Thompson by a Lombard police officer, Detective Ryan Postal, who discharged his weapon striking Pierre Thompson in the right chest, the upper left arm and in the right back, was legally justified in his actions and that no criminal charges will be filed against Detective Postal.”

Berlin determined his decision after an exhaustive review of police reports, statements from those involved, witness accounts, physical evidence, photographs, body-worn videos, in-car squad videos, 9-1-1 calls, cellular phone data, and site visits.

On December 8, 2022, around 4:00 pm, Detective Postal and his partner were among the numerous officers responding to a call of an armed robbery in progress at a business located at 54 West Roosevelt Road.  

As Detective Postal arrived on scene, he pulled his vehicle next to a car suspected of being involved in the armed robbery.  Detective Postal observed Thompson run right next to his car at which time Detective Postal yelled “hands” as an order to Thompson to show Detective Postal his hands. Thompson responded by pointing a firearm at Detective Postal and his partner while continuing to run from the scene.

Detective Postal opened his door and returned fire while yelling out “I got shot, I got shot.” Detective Postal said he felt vulnerable laying by the driver’s side door and not being able to move. Thompson, who was trying to get up and go for his gun, prompted Detective Postal to fire two more times in Thompson’s direction. 

Responding officers performed life-saving measures on Thompson, but Thompson died from multiple gunshot wounds. According to police, Detective Postal was wounded in the right leg and transferred to an area hospital.

During their crime scene  investigation, police recovered a backpack, cell phone, and wallet belonging to an employee of the business as well as stolen cash from the business next to where Thompson’s body was located. Police also recovered three Hornady 9mm fired cartridge casings, which the Illinois State Police Crime Lab determined were fired from Detective Postal’s gun and six CCI 9mm fired cartridge casings in the area where Thompson was shooting at the police officers, which the Illinois State Police Crime Lab determined were fired from Thompson’s gun.

“The above facts have been evaluated in the context of Illinois law governing the justifiable use of deadly force. In accordance with Illinois law, my staff and I have reviewed the facts and circumstances of the case with special consideration given to the perspective of the officer on the scene. It is important to remember that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the appropriate amount of force necessary to bring a tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situation under control.” Berlin said in a press release.

According to the DuPage Metropolitan Emergency Response and Investigation Team (MERIT), Thompson was running toward Detective Postal, armed with a gun, and that Thompson ignored Detective Postal’s command of “hands” and instead fired the weapon at Detective Postal.  Furthermore, Thompson clearly knew that the officers were police officers based on how the officers were dressed. 

“Moreover, under Illinois law Detective Postal was not required to retreat or desist from efforts to make a lawful arrest. Detective Postal was justified in using deadly force because he reasonably believed, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself and his partner. Moreover, the fact that Detective Postal fired two additional times at Thompson after being shot in his leg does not change the analysis because Thompson was attempting to get up and retrieve the gun he had dropped, and therefore still posed a threat to Detective Postal and his partner’s lives. The evidence shows that but for Detective Postal shooting Thompson, it is likely Thompson would have killed Detective Postal and possibly his partner as well.” MERIT said in a press release.