Hostage taker’s ‘hands were raised in the air’ when shot by Will County sheriff’s lieutenant, lawsuit claims

Romeoville Bank Robbery.  May 10.

A federal lawsuit has claimed a hostage taker’s hands were raised in the air when he was shot by a Will County sheriff’s lieutenant outside a Romeoville bank last year.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday by an attorney for Brenda Nash-Milton, the sister of Gregory Walker, 65, of Crest Hill, who was fatally shot May 10, by a member of the Will County SWAT team after a hostage situation at Fifth Third Bank, 275 S. Weber Road in Romeoville.

Walker had been armed with a gun and took hostages at the bank.

Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dan Jungles has said it was Will County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Allen was the SWAT team member who fired a shot at Walker.

Before the shooting, Walker had allowed everyone inside the bank to leave after speaking to a crisis negotiator, put down his firearm, put his hands up and approached the main front exit of the bank, according to Nash-Milton’s lawsuit.

“At the time he approached the exit, Mr. Walker’s hands were raised in the air, demonstrating that he was not in possession of any weapon. At this time, Deputy John Allen discharged his firearm, striking Mr. Walker in the chest with a bullet,” the lawsuit said.

Illinois State Police has turned over the investigation of Walker’s fatal shooting to Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s Office. The office is still reviewing the case as of Thursday.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow attends a rally for ZONTA Says No To Violence Against Women outside the old court house on Tuesday in Joliet.

Jungles said the sheriff’s office does not make any statements on any pending litigation.

Ian Barney, Nash-Milton’s attorney, said he does not have any records on the case. He said he anticipates receiving records, including video evidence, in discovery of the case.

The lawsuit names Allen, Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley and Will County as defendants.

Kelley is also being sued for the actions of his deputies who killed Jabbar Muhammad, 21, and Eldred Wells Sr., 70, in a 2021 incident in Joliet Township. Glasgow’s office declined to file charges against those deputies. An internal affairs investigation determined they were justified in the shooting.

The lawsuit claims Allen used unreasonable, unjustified and excessive force that resulted in Walker’s death, purposefully discharged a firearm at Walker and that Allen’s conduct showed “utter indifference or reckless or conscious disregard” for Walker’s safety.

Kelley and the county government is being held liable for Allen’s actions.

Romeoville Bank Robbery.  May 10.

The incident involving Walker first began about 3:40 p.m. May 10, when Romeoville police and then the Will County SWAT team responded to multiple calls of shots fired at Fifth Third Bank.

The callers said there was a man with a gun inside who had taken hostages and demanded that officers respond to the location, according to a news release from the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

Romeoville police officers were the first to respond and they established a perimeter around the bank. The officers were able to communicate with the suspect – later identified as Walker – who agreed to allow the hostages inside the bank to walk out.

None of the hostages were injured during the incident.

Will County SWAT crisis negotiators and tactical team members arrived at the scene. At one point, members of the SWAT team set up in front of the building in an armored rescue vehicle “in anticipation of the suspect exiting,” according to the sheriff’s office release.

As the suspect began to exit the building, Allen fired one round, striking Walker. Police said Walker did not fire at police.