Family of man shot by Joliet police seek answers
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org August 2, 2012 7:28PM
Updated: September 4, 2012 6:15AM
JOLIET — A man shot by police earlier this week was left in more serious condition than police let on, his family says.
A Joliet police officer shot at a car driven by James Pacheco shortly after 2:30 a.m. Monday, after it appeared Pacheco was preparing to run the officer over, police said.
Police said Pacheco was being pursued for allegedly breaking the windows at a home in the 300 block of Union Street.
Pacheco, 35, of Lockport, was stopped by a train in the 900 block of East Washington Street and made a U-turn so his vehicle was facing the police vehicle, police said.
Ignoring a police order to get out of the car, Pacheco hit the gas, driving directly at the officers, police said. One officer jumped out of the way, the other shot at the car.
Pacheco then led police on a car chase that ended when he rammed a light pole in Lockport.
The day after the incident, Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton said Pacheco was shot in the arm and that a bullet grazed his face.
Pacheco was taken to Silver Cross Hospital and later transferred to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he is under police guard, his family said.
He faces charges of driving under the influence, aggravated fleeing and eluding, and criminal damage to property.
Pacheco’s brother, Robert Pacheco of Gardner, Kan., said James’ family was told James was shot five times — three bullets went through his arm, one shattered his jaw and one lodged in his clavicle.
James’ tongue was severely damaged and swelled to the point that he needed a tracheotomy, Robert said.
Wednesday afternoon, Robert said James’ ex-wife was told that James was in a medically induced coma until the swelling in his tongue decreased.
Trafton said Thursday that Pacheco was not in a medically induced coma, and that his immediate family members, clergy and lawyer are able to visit him.
A spokeswoman for Loyola said Thursday she had no information on Pacheco’s condition.
“I know there’s many different sides to the story,” Robert Pacheco said. “(Police are) going to protect their own, but on the other hand, so am I.
“We don’t know the full story, so we don’t want to jump to any conclusions,” he said. “I’m absolutely glad that no officer was hurt. I’m just trying to find out what my brother did to make them elevate to that level of violence.”
Trafton said Thursday that the incident where Pacheco was shot was a “fast, fluid situation.”
“I’m sorry that this guy got hurt. But I’m glad our officers didn’t,” Trafton said. “It’s easy for everyone else to second guess. They weren’t there. When you’ve got a multithousand-pound vehicle coming at you, what do you do? Put yourself in the officer’s shoes, that’s all I’m asking people to do.”
Robert Pacheco questioned why police chased James when they apparently had his name and the license plate number of the car he was driving.
“I don’t know how (the officers) would have known who he was. They might have known who he was,” Trafton said. “(Pacheco is) making all kinds of assumptions here that I don’t think he can make. Let these things play their course, let it go to trial. That’s where the facts are tried.”
Robert Pacheco said his family just wants more details on what happened Monday night, and that the police aren’t giving them much to go on.
“It’s an unfortunate incident all the way around,” Robert said. “I’m not mad at anybody, I just want to know what happened.”