Bensenville, IL – An Illinois police officer is facing a long road to recovery after being shot eight times while responding to a domestic disturbance nearly two weeks ago.
The attack occurred at an apartment complex located in the 100-block of South York Road shortly before 1 a.m. on Nov. 6, the Daily Herald reported.
Bensenville Police Department (BPD) Officer Steven Kotlewski was among the first officers to arrive at the scene of the domestic disturbance, according to WLS.
Officer Kotlewski’s duty weapon was still holstered when the suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Kiante Tyler, opened fire on them, the Daily Herald reported.
The veteran officer was hit at least eight times, according to WLS.
Tyler surrendered to another officer shortly after the shooting.
Fellow officers quickly applied tourniquets to Officer Kotlewski’s legs to help stem the bleeding before they loaded him into a patrol car and raced over to the Bensenville Fire Department, the veteran officer’s father-in-law, Dave Stachura, told the Daily Herald.
“If they didn’t put tourniquets on them, he’d have died,” Stachura said.
Officer Kotlewski was then rushed to Loyola University Medical Center, WLS reported.
He suffered two gunshot wounds to one leg and four in the other, and was also shot once in the back under his ballistic vest, Stachura told the Daily Herald.
Another round struck his ballistic vest.
Officer Kotlewski remained conscious and was still able to communicate with his family and medical personnel by writing after he was intubated, Stachura said.
“He’s a lucky boy,” his father-in-law said. “He’s got a lot of rehab ahead of him.”
Officer Kotlewski went through an eight-hour surgery the morning of the shooting and was taken for a second round of surgery that afternoon, the Daily Herald reported.
The married father-of-three has been with the BPD for approximately eight years, and served as a police officer in Norridge prior to taking the job in Bensenville.
His children range in age from one to eight, according to a fundraising page established to help him and his family.
Officer Kotlewski was initially kept a medically-induced coma and is still recovering from injuries to his colon, liver, kidney, pelvis, knees, and diaphragm, among others, the page read.
Richard Blass, an attorney representing Officer Kotlewski and his family, said the wounded officer was placed on a ventilator after the shooting, WLS reported.
He’s undergone at least 50 hours of surgery so far, WBBM reported.
“The whole family just can’t believe the kind of support that has come through,” Blass said, according to WLS. “Every day that you got to give your children a hug and your wife a hug and your whoever you’re with at the house a hug because you don’t know if the next day is going to be your last.”
Officer Kotlewski’s condition has improved over the past two weeks and he has been in good spirits, WFLD reported.
He remains in the ICU, and underwent exploratory surgery on his legs on Monday in an effort to help repair nerve damage.
“If I know this officer, he’s going to get better and he’s going to ask ‘hey when can I get back to the job?’” Blass told WLS.
The fundraising page has raised more than $167,000 so far.
Officer Kotlewski’s wife, Crystal, spoke out about the attack on her husband during a fundraiser in Elmhurst on Wednesday, WBBM reported.
Crystal said she is terrified and angry, but that she is also thankful for the outpouring of support her family has received.
“My husband is more than that uniform,” she told WBBM. “He’s a wonderful husband and an amazing dad.”
Crystal said her children are struggling to understand why their daddy hasn’t been home in nearly two weeks.
She said it breaks her heart that she cannot give them definite answers on when he’ll be home again.
Tyler has been charged with three counts of aggravated battery and one count of first-degree attempted murder, the Daily Herald reported.
Two of the aggravated battery charges involve him allegedly punching two detectives in their faces, according to court records.
Tyler was denied bond, the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office told WLS.
The BPD said investigators did not find anyone injured as a result of the domestic disturbance that prompted the police response, the Daily Herald reported.
The suspect’s mother, Kenya Bentley, told WMAQ that she had called police for help on Nov. 6 after her son became violent due to suspected drug use.
Bentley said whoever gave Tyler the drugs gave him “some bad stuff.”
“They gave him something,” she told WMAQ. “They gave him some bad stuff. What he’s doing now is not him. It’s another person.”
She said she had no idea her son was armed.
“I really feel bad because my son was never like this,” Bentley added.