The brother of a man shot and killed by a police officer claimed he was never armed and doubts he robbed a bank.
Bruce Carter, 38, of Joliet died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds Wednesday at a house on South Des Plaines Street. He was pronounced dead about noon at AMITA Health St. Joseph Medical Center.
Joliet police said in a news release that an officer “became engaged with an armed adult male” and the officer, who was “forced to defend himself,” shot the man.
Marcello Carter, 37, claimed that his brother was never armed. He said his brother is suspected by the FBI of robbing the First Midwest Bank on West Jefferson Street about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, but he insisted Bruce Carter wasn’t “a bank-robbing type.”
“From what I understand, he was up in his room, the officers came in, he came down, and after that, we don’t know what transpired. We just know he didn’t have no weapon,” Marcello Carter said of the shooting. He said his mother, who is disabled, was home at the time.
The Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force is investigating Bruce Carter’s death. On Thursday, Romeoville Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Kroll, who is the chairman of the task force, issued a news release stating, “Police went to this residence while investigating a bank robbery that occurred earlier in the day.”
“Police were speaking with Bruce Carter when, according to a witness, and corroborated by physical evidence, a physical struggle ensued near the front porch of the residence.
Mr. Carter was armed with a box cutter-style razor knife during this struggle,” the release said. “The officer discharged his firearm, striking Mr. Carter.”
Kroll did not specify the “physical evidence” that “corroborated” this account. The release said the “officer’s name is being withheld pending completion of this investigation.”
Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner referred questions about the bank robbery to the FBI. FBI Special Agent John Althen said in an email that no one has been charged with the robbery.
He did not answer questions about whether Bruce Carter was a suspect.
As of Thursday evening, the FBI continues to list the unnamed suspect as “wanted.”
Neighbors Yolanda Rent and Von Adams both said Bruce Carter is the man pictured in an FBI wanted poster, although they did not know his name. Adams said in the past she saw him walking his dog.
“He was always a quiet dude. He never did anything out of the ordinary,” she said.
Rent said he helped take care of his mother and they were “pretty quiet.”
Adams said she was inside her home when she heard four shots. She said she peeked through her window and saw an officer with a gun drawn and a man who was shot lying on his back with his head facing toward the front door.
“It shocked the hell out of me,” Adams said.
Marcello Carter said his brother wasn’t violent and did not carry weapons. He said his brother was interested in video games, drawing and writing, and that he worked at Elite Staffing on Cass Street.
Elite Staffing staff coordinator Jessica Campos confirmed that he worked for the company, that Wednesday was payday and he picked up his check at their location. Campos called him “a good worker.”
Marcello Carter said he doesn’t know why his brother was at the bank but “it couldn’t be robbing.” He also said the shooting was not justified.
“They killed an innocent man,” he said, “murdered an innocent man.”