DeKALB – Two DeKalb police officers returned to work Tuesday, three weeks after fatally shooting a 28-year-old Malta man while he was attacking his parents with a knife, DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery said.
Sgt. Thomas Petit and officer Mario Nonnenmann first tried to subdue Cameron D. Lupton with a Taser before shooting him once in a bedroom after his stepmother, Charlotte Lupton, 67, told police he was having a psychological breakdown, Lowery said in a news release Tuesday. The funeral for Cameron Lupton is scheduled for Saturday, and Charlotte Lupton and father Carl Lupton, 57, are recuperating after he stabbed them multiple times Jan. 28.
“This is the most horrific and tragic event an officer or the family can be involved in,” Lowery said. “Human beings aren't meant to take the lives of other human beings, but sometimes the circumstances might require we do that to save an innocent from harm. I believe without the actions of these officers, the survivors would be dead.”
Petit has been with the DeKalb Police Department for 22 years, Nonnenmann for 12, Lowery said. Following an independent investigation by the Illinois State Police, both officers were screened and deemed mentally fit to return to duty, Lowery said.
The Illinois State Police has not handed over the investigation to DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack, but Schmack said based on his conversations with state police he did not anticipate filing charges against the officers.
A psychological breakdown
The incident began at about 11:48 a.m. on Jan. 28, when Charlotte Lupton asked police to check on Cameron Lupton at a family member's house on High Pointe Drive in DeKalb. Cameron Lupton was having a psychological breakdown and trying to get firearms at that house, Lowery said, adding it was difficult to definitively say why Cameron wanted the firearms.
“Deductively I can say it was to act out what he was feeling at the time, with the potential of implementing them in an aggressive manner.” Lowery said. “But it's incomprehensible to understand it, because he was psychologically broken.”
Cameron Lupton's neighbor, Jackie Belmont, told the Daily Chronicle that Cameron Lupton had stopped taking his medications for paranoid schizophrenia a couple weeks before attacking his family members, but DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller could not confirm that Tuesday. Miller said the autopsy showed Cameron Lupton had no drugs or alcohol in his system and was a healthy young man who died of a single gunshot wound to the neck.
Lowery said Cameron Lupton suffered from significant psychological issues, some of which manifested during and after his military service. Cameron Lupton, a 2004 graduate of DeKalb High School, was an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan. Police had encountered Cameron Lupton a few times in the past related to family disturbances and traffic offenses, Lowery said.
“There was nothing police were involved in that would have led us to believe it would have led to this,” Lowery said.
Less than 20 seconds
About noon on Jan. 28, officers tried to find Cameron Lupton on the home on High Pointe Drive. They expected to meet his father, who had gone there to help his son.
But before they found Cameron Lupton, officers learned there was an altercation at his parents' home in the 1000 block of Quail Run, where Charlotte Lupton was at the time.
Investigators later learned that Cameron and Carl Lupton had returned to the nearby Quail Run home, where Cameron Lupton went to the back bedroom and immediately began punching his stepmother in the face, Lowery said. Carl Lupton pulled his son out of the bedroom and tried to barricade himself inside the bedroom with his wife.
Then, Cameron Lupton got two knives from the kitchen, kicked down the bedroom door, and stabbed both of his parents, Lowery said.
The two DeKalb police and a Northern Illinois Police officer rushed toward the back bedroom when they got to the home, but Cameron Lupton didn't respond to his parents' pleas nor police commands to stop. Nonnenmann deployed a Taser to no effect, so Petit fatally shot Cameron Lupton, Lowery said. Petit fired his gun once.
"Once officers located the offender attacking his parents, less than 20 seconds later the life-threatening attack ended and the effort to save the lives of the victims was underway," Lowery said in the news release.
Lowery's news release included the following comment from the Lupton family: "The family wishes to thank the law enforcement agencies, the health care responders, and the community for their support and understanding at this difficult time."
NIU police officer Weyni Langdon, a six-year member of the department who was in the home at the time of the shooting, was back on duty within a few days, NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips said.