UPDATE: Former UI student shot by police gets second-chance probation

UPDATE: Former UI student shot by police gets second-chance probation

URBANA — A former University of Illinois student who was suicidal and wanted police to shoot him — which they did — has been sentenced to two years of second-chance probation.

Samuel Applebaum, 24, pleaded guilty Wednesday to disorderly conduct before Judge Roger Webber.

The 24-year-old from Flossmoor admitted he made a false police report on July 12 that there was a man loading a semi-automatic gun on a residential street near the UI campus in Champaign.

Several police officers answered Applebaum’s call to 911 about 6:20 p.m. that Thursday, converging near the intersection of Locust and John streets, an area dense with apartments just south of Green Street and west of First Street.

They spotted Applebaum holding a gun that turned out to be a pellet gun.

Body-camera video taken by sheriff's Deputy Cory Christensen and released by Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh confirmed that Applebaum pointed the gun at police and refused repeated commands by more than one officer to put it down.

His refusal prompted three officers to fire real guns at him — Christensen and UI officers A.J. Martin and Chuck Hoskins.

Applebaum was shot in the leg and administered first aid by the responding officers, who quickly learned that Applebaum’s weapon was a Beretta pellet gun.

The senior in integrative biology was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana for treatment then transferred to the county jail on July 14. He spent five nights on high-risk watch before posting bail so that he could receive mental-health treatment at a Chicago-area hospital. He subsequently withdrew from the UI.

$2,790 in restitution

He appeared in court Wednesday morning with his attorney, Tom Bruno, and his parents. Assistant State’s Attorney Lindsey Clark represented the state and offered the negotiated plea agreement to Applebaum.

Disorderly conduct is one of the enumerated offenses for which second-chance probation is an option if the defendant has no prior criminal convictions. Applebaum was eligible.

Under second-chance probation, he will have to abide by certain rules for two years, including following recommendations for mental-health treatment. If he successfully lives up to the terms of his probation, which includes paying fines, fees and costs and performing 30 hours of public service, the case against him will be dismissed and no conviction will be entered on his record.

Among the approximately $4,400 in costs Applebaum has to pay is $2,790 in restitution to the sheriff’s office and UI Police Department, which already paid for the repair of nearby apartments windows broken by gunfire.

Should Applebaum break rules, not get treatment or get into further difficulty, the state can take steps to revoke his probation and have a Class 4 felony conviction entered on his record.

Clark could not immediately be reached for comment, and Bruno declined to say anything about Applebaum or his condition.

Because police officers fired weapons that resulted in a person being hit, the Illinois State Police was asked to conduct an investigation into the use of force.

Probe still ongoing

Sgt. Mike Campbell reported that his team has submitted “bits and pieces” of its work to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, but the report isn’t entirely complete as they wait for records that have been subpoenaed.

Rietz said her job will be to review those reports “to determine if there are any violations of criminal law.”

Based on what she has seen to date, there are no violations of state law, she said. It’s up to the sheriff and the UI police chief to determine if their employees violated any department policy.

Christensen, a deputy since March 2016, returned to work first, having spent three days on administrative leave. Hoskins, an 11-year employee with the UI police, was off eight working days, and Martin, a six-year employee, was off six working days, according to UI police spokesman Pat Wade.

He said the department is waiting on the results of the state police investigation into the shooting before finalizing any possible disciplinary action.

Lt. Brian Mennenga said the sheriff’s office would not discuss personnel issues.

Sections (2):News, Local