Suspect will not face murder charges in cop's death

Larry Brown of Markham is charged in a burglary that is tied to the death of a Chicago police officer. The veteran officer was responding to a call of a burglary in progress when he crashed his squad.

February 25, 2010 5:21:10 PM PST
A man arrested in a burglary connected to the death of a veteran Chicago police officer will not be charged with murder, officials said Thursday.

Chicago Police Sgt. Alan Haymaker died when he crashed his squad car while responding to a burglary call. Larry Brown, 28, of Markham, Ill., was arrested in the early morning burglary at a cellular phone store in the 3100-block of North Clark Street on Monday, February 22.

Brown, who appeared in felony bond court Thursday morning, was charged with obstructing identification and burglary in the case. There was speculation that Brown could have faced murder charges stemming from Haymaker's fatal crash. However, the prosecuting attorney said murder charges would not be filed against Brown because there was not 'sufficient evidence'.

Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez's Office released a statement: There is not a sufficient legal basis to charge the offender who has been arrested in this case with felony murder charges in connection with the tragic death of Sgt. Haymaker. While we certainly understand the pain and anguish felt by the Chicago Police Department in the wake of this tragedy, the states attorney's office does not have the evidence that would be required to meet the burden of proof to sustain a felony murder charge.

Brown was denied bond because he was on probation for only three months when he allegedly committed the burglary. Police say he was the lookout man. Police are still looking for others.

The charges against Brown come on the same day as the Sgt. Haymaker's wake.

Earlier this week Superintendent Jody Weis said he was looking into possible murder charges because Haymaker died on the way to a crime scene. The decision not to pursue murder charges does not surprise legal experts.

"When it's ahead of time, there is a foreseeability factor. The burglar is not foreseeing that some police officer is going to get into his squad car, race to the scene and in the course of it end up being dead. So the state, I don't think, would have been able to sustain their burden. If they are not able to sustain their burden then there's no point in charging," said Richard Kling, Kent School of Law.

Kling says murder charges would be easier if Haymaker was killed during the crime or while he was chasing the suspect afterwards.

Sgt. Haymaker was a 21-year veteran of the police department. Before joining the force, he an associate pastor. Just hours before his fatal accident, Haymaker met with his pastor.

"He was very spiritually minded, loved Jesus Christ and was very aware that he was going to go to heaven," said Pastor Paul Jorden, Bethel Community Church.

Haymaker's colleagues at the 26th District say the 56-year-old's strong faith made him a better police officer.

"That experience with him being a pastor, it made him able to relate to a lot of different situations, a lot of situations that maybe people who don't have some type of religious experience, it was just a little bit easier for him to relate to it," said Officer Angelo Sanchez, Chicago Police Department.

Haymaker's wake was attended by members of law enforcement from all over the county, including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

"For somebody like this who has done so much for all of us in the city and the county, it's a horrible loss. My heart just goes out to the family," said Dart.

Sgt. Haymaker's visitation is being held from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bethel Community Church in Chicago, 7601 West Foster. Supt. Weis was expected to attend the traditional St. Jude's ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. Haymaker's funeral will be Friday morning at 11 a.m. at the same church. Then police will escort the family to a private burial.

Haymaker is survived by his wife and three daughters.