Naperville officer's killing of hatchet-wielding man ruled justified

  • A still image from Naperville police body-camera video shows a man with a hatchet coming toward an officer. The officer shot and killed the man.

    A still image from Naperville police body-camera video shows a man with a hatchet coming toward an officer. The officer shot and killed the man. Courtesy of the Naperville Police Department

 
 
Updated 8/15/2022 5:43 PM

A Naperville police officer who shot a hatchet-wielding man to death in June was justified in doing so, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said Monday.

Berlin determined that officer Frank Tonkovich "reasonably believed" Edward Samaan of Naperville was trying to kill him or a driver Tonkovich had pulled over separately. Tonkovich's actions were not just reasonable "but necessary in order to prevent great bodily harm or death to himself or the motorist he had stopped," Berlin said in the news release.

 

Tonkovich had stopped a Honda Civic on a stop sign violation at McDowell Road and Bond Street around 11 a.m. June 3. He parked behind the Civic and walked to the driver's window.

A Ford Fusion, driven by 28-year-old Samaan, stopped in the middle of the road near Tonkovich. Samaan got out carrying a hatchet and charged at Tonkovich, according to a statement from Berlin.

In squad and body-camera video the city released in June, Tonkovich is heard saying, "Who are you?" when the Fusion stops. As Samaan approaches him with the hatchet, Tonkovich shoots while stepping backward. The driver of the Civic ducks down on the passenger seat as the shots were fired.

Samaan drops face first onto the street, rolls over onto his back and briefly holds his head up before his head and both arms drop to the ground. Tonkovich is heard saying, "Base, I've just been attacked. Shots fired. Shots fired." He then yells at Samaan, "Don't move! Don't move!"

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Tonkovich had shot at Samaan six times, hitting him five times. Samaan was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The DuPage County Metropolitan Emergency Response and Investigative Team's Public Integrity team investigated the shooting.

Tonkovich wrote in his report that Samaan "had a crazed look in his eyes" and that he "was forced" to shoot to stop Samaan from killing him or the driver of the Honda Civic, according to Berlin.

Berlin said it was sad that previous hospitalizations and treatments had not helped Samaan, but he did not specify for what Samaan was treated.

Will County court records indicate that Samaan was charged in January with aggravated battery to a peace officer, aggravated battery to a victim 60 or older, and two misdemeanor counts of domestic battery. He was ordered to stay away from his home and his parents. He applied to participate in Will's mental health court but was denied.

Tonkovich has been a Naperville police officer for 22 years.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.