DuPage state's attorney says fatal Villa Park police shooting was justified

Updated 8/23/2021 4:29 PM

A Lombard resident killed by a Villa Park police officer in May was trying to get the police to kill him, according to DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin.

Berlin declared Monday that police Sgt. Jose Pagan was justified in fatally shooting Haven Bailey, 25, given that Bailey refused to obey repeated orders to drop was later found to be a pellet gun.


"The evidence is clear that Haven Bailey called 911 and reported a 'person with a gun' with the intent of committing suicide by provoking the police into using deadly force against himself," Berlin said in a news release.

The shooting happened shortly after 2 a.m. on May 24, in the 200 block of Kenilworth in Villa Park.

Bailey called 911 to report that somebody was walking around with a gun, according to authorities. Bailey described the person as dressed in a suit and tie and said the gun looked like a pistol.

"They already drew it, they pulled it out of their pants, I already saw it," Bailey told the 911 operator, according to the news release.

Pagan and another officer were the first to respond. As the other officer walked toward the house, the second officer heard a fence or door swing open. He then saw a person, later identified as Bailey, standing near the front of the house.

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Both officers saw a black handgun. They ordered Bailey to put the gun down.

Pagan tried to de-escalate the situation, asking Bailey, "What's your name Bud, what's going on with you?" He then told Bailey to come over. Bailey did so but was still carrying the gun and refused orders to drop it.

When Bailey started to raise the gun, Pagan then shot Bailey four times in the chest and abdomen.

As Pagan attended to Bailey's wounds, he asked Bailey why he did not drop the gun. Bailey told Pagan, "I wanna die." Berlin said the shooting and Bailey's statement were recorded on a squad car's video.

Bailey was pronounced dead at 4:29 a.m. at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

The gun was a black carbon dioxide-powered pellet gun with "Sig Sauer 1911" written upon it.

Investigators found text messages Bailey sent three minutes before the 911 call, showing Bailey wearing a dark-colored shirt and tie, and a message that read in part "I'm sorry in advance ..."

They also learned that Bailey talked about "suicide by cop" with a relative about a month before the shooting, Berlin said.

"It is indeed heartbreaking when a loved one meets an untimely death," Berlin said. "The sad truth in the tragic death of Haven Bailey, however, is that Haven saw suicide as the only way to find true peace."

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