80-year old Vaughn ‘Curly’ Fitzgerald was shot to death in Illinois on Tuesday when he was confronted by police on gambling charges. Fitzgerald was enjoying his usual poker game at a building he owned on Tuesday night when the police showed up. Fitzgerald came outside his property holding a rifle while police took up post out front. Fitzgerald shot Byron Starks after he ran across the parking lot with a handgun. Police ordered him to the ground but he did not obey.
When Fitzgerald shot Starks he was pointing the gun at two officers and they told him to put the gun down. When he fired, police fired, potentially killing Fitzgerald. The police were at the residence to inquire about robbery reports and also gambling indications.
Police have said they repeatedly told Fitzgerald to lower his weapon but he did not comply. Friends say that Fitzgerald was hard of hearing, pretty close to being deaf. Friends believe this is why the 80-year old did not lower his weapon.Â “You could sit two seats away from him at a poker game, and he couldn’t hear what you were saying,” said Bill Ongenars, who said he first met Fitzgerald about 13 years ago playing cards. ‘This man was a deaf man.’
The police chief has declined to make a statement on the shooting referring any questions to the states attorney, who in turn says he has not received any police reports.