CHICAGO - The family of a man shot and killed by Chicago police last week says officers shot the wrong person.
Michael Craig's family says police had been to the apartment several times in recent weeks in the Gresham neighborhood. The 61-year-old’s wife had mental health issues and was off her medication.
In 2016, she stabbed Craig seven times.
Attorney Michael Oppenheimer said serious questions remain about the deadly shooting, including whether Michael A. Craig was even holding a weapon or threatening police.
"Nobody from the Chicago Police Department has reached out to this family to give any explanation of why their father, friend and loved one was killed by the Chicago Police Department," Oppenheimer said at a news conference.
During the fatal altercation around 7:35 a.m. Oct. 4 in the 7700 block of South Carpenter Street, Oppenheimer says Craig’s 7-year-old son had neighbors call the police because Craig's wife had a knife to his neck.
"He yelled to his . . . son, ‘Call the police, call the police. She’s got a knife to my throat," said Oppenheimer.
When officers arrived, Oppenheimer said "witnesses heard the police officer yell "Drop it, drop it" and immediately two gunshots were fired."
The family is calling for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) to release the bodycam footage.
"Witnesses heard the police officer, there were two police officers, yell ‘drop it, drop it.’ And immediately two gunshots were fired. That's what we do know. What we also know is Michael Craig died from his gunshot wounds. We also know that Michael Craig, a 61-year-old domestic violence victim who was much smaller than his wife, had more than one stabbing to his body," said Oppenheimer.
Police have said a knife was recovered but would not say if Craig or his wife was holding it at the time.
Craig’s wife was taken to the hospital after the shooting for mental health issues and remains under observation, the family said. Craig’s 7-year-old son is in the care of relatives.
"(Craig) was a victim of domestic violence," Oppenheimer said. "I fear that the police are being unusually silent in this case because they made him a victim, again, of domestic violence and now a victim of the Chicago Police Department."
Craig and his wife had been married for nearly 10 years, according to Craig’s older son Patrick Jenkins, and it was not the first altercation between the two. In 2016, Craig’s wife stabbed him and she was arrested but then released.
Despite their past, Jenkins said his father loved his wife "very much."
"He wanted to help her, and this is what happened," said Jenkins, 40. "He didn’t deserve it."
The Chicago Police Department says the officers involved have been placed on desk duty for 30 days pending the outcome of the investigation.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.