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Ill. Officer Shoots Armed Man Inside Police Station

A man shot and wounded by an officer inside the Vernon Hills police station this morning had a note in his pocket saying he was dying of cancer and indicating he wanted police to kill him.

"I apologize for placing your officers in this position," Howard R. Lazarus, 53, wrote in a note found in his pocket. "I am dying from cancer and couldn't do the deed myself."

Lazarus walked into the station shortly after midnight and said he had been involved in an accident and wanted to file a report, authorities said.

When an officer walked into the lobby to talk to him, he pulled out what looked like a 9mm handgun, refused orders to drop it, pulled back the gun's slide and walked toward the officer, police said.

The officer fired two rounds, hitting Lazarus in the abdomen. He was taken in fair condition to a hospital.

The gun was later found to be a replica. And the note found in his pocket indicated he wanted police to kill him, authorities said.

Before Lazarus pulled out the gun, he told the officer that he had been in an accident in Mundelein, where he lives.

"The officer offered to give him a ride to the Mundelein Police Department," police said in a statement. "At that point, the subject pulled a handgun out of his coat pocket and pointed it at the officer."

Officer Sharon Joseph said the gun appeared to be real and the officer had no choice but to fire. "The suspect made moves to actually fire the weapon and the officer had no choice," she said.

Lazarus has been charged with aggravated assault, a Class 4 felony.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, which is being conducted by the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service