Des Plaines shooting: Police shoot, kill man having psychotic episode, armed with axe, officials say

Man killed in shooting in Des Plaines ID'd as Scott MacDonald

Mark Rivera Image
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Des Plaines police shoot, kill 55-year-old man
Des Plaines police said a 55-year-old man was shot and killed by officers on Thacker Street Wednesday night.

DES PLAINES, Ill. (WLS) -- Des Plaines police said a 55-year-old man was having some short of psychotic episode, and was caught on body camera video approaching officers in a threatening way with an axe, before an officer opened fire, killing him Wednesday night.

"(He) never said a bad thing about anybody, always positive, would take the shirt off his back. He'd give you whatever he can," good friend Julie Radman said.

Radman said she's been close friends with Scott MacDonald for more than 15 years.

"He would do anything for anybody, and I've had lots of health problems over the years and he's offered to drive me to take me (to) doctors," she said.

She was beside herself to learn of his death at the hands of Des Plaines police after they said they met MacDonald in the hallway outside of his corner apartment.

Officers were sent to the 1400-block of Thacker Street at about 7:37 p.m. to assist paramedics.

MacDonald was, "armed with an axe, approaching officers in a threatening manner, in close proximity, at the time of the shooting. This information has been confirmed through officers' body-worn camera footage," according to a Des Plaines Police Department news release.

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ABC7 Chicago requests for an on-camera interview have gone unanswered.

"You may not have time to talk to that individual. If someone is rushing at you with a weapon, if it's a firearm, if it's a knife, if it's a club, whatever it may be, you may not have time to talk that person down. You may have to resort to force," said Bill Kushner, ABC7 police affairs consultant/P4Security.

Kushner is also a former chief of Des Plaines police. He said Des Plaines PD have extensive de-escalation training, and the body camera video and shooting investigation will bear out whether more could or should have been done to avoid lethal force.

"Would the Taser have worked? It may or may not have. Was the officer willing to risk his life in that split second? It was probably a reactive decision," Kushner said.

Meanwhile, Radman worries for MacDonald's teenage son, left without a father.

"He's a good little boy, but he's gonna be affected. It's terrible. His dad was everything to him," she said.

Radman told ABC7 MacDonald's father had recently passed away, he had just gotten out of a romantic relationship and had a history of discussing suicide.

The officer who fired the shots has been with Des Plaines police for just over two years, and is on leave while the investigation continues.