Man fatally shot by police after using bystander as human shield

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SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A bank robbery suspect held an elderly man at knifepoint and used him as a human shield before police officers fatally shot him Tuesday afternoon in west suburban North Riverside, police say.

Officers were called at 12:28 p.m. to an attempted bank robbery at the TCF Bank branch inside a Jewel-Osco store at 7201 W. 24th St., according to a statement from North Riverside police.

When they spotted 41-year-old Alfonso D. Lopez walking along the strip mall and ordered him to the ground, he “removed an object from his pocket and pointed it directly at them,” police said.

Lopez then ran inside a Burlington Coat Factory store in the 2200 block of Harlem Avenue and pointed the “object” at officers several times as they chased him, police said.

“As officers closed in on the suspect, he grabbed an elderly man and held him at knifepoint in an attempt to use him as a human shield,” police said.

The bystander struggled and was able to pull far enough away for multiple officers to open fire, police said.

Lopez, of Berwyn, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he was pronounced dead at 4:59 p.m., according to police. No one else was hurt.

According to the FBI, Lopez was also suspected of robbing a bank in nearby River Forest on Dec. 16, before Tuesday’s attempted hold-up.

Illinois State Police are investigating the use of force.