The mother of a Joliet man who was shot and killed by a police officer said she felt her son was murdered, and she has been unable to return to her home where he was killed.
Grace Vann said she was inside of her South Des Plaines Street home Feb. 6 when her son, Bruce Carter, 38, was shot and killed by a Joliet police officer. Police officials said they went to Carter’s home because he was a suspect in a bank robbery that occurred earlier that day.
Vann said she has been staying at a rehabilitation facility since the fatal shooting because she refuses to return to her home where her son was killed. She blames Joliet police for killing her son and depriving her of her home.
She said Carter was “my backbone” and took care of her because she suffers from multiple sclerosis.
“I haven’t really, really cried since this happened because I still have two sons, and I feel that I have to be strong for them,” Vann said.
Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner and Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force chairman Ken Kroll failed to return calls Wednesday. Will County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Carole Cheney said the shooting was still under review, and she declined to answer further questions.
Roechner said in a statement that two officers went to the home of a suspected bank robber. While they were speaking with a woman inside the home, the suspect allegedly attacked one of the officers while holding a “box cutter”-style knife.
The officer “was forced to act” and shot the suspect “in order to stop the threat,” Roechner said.
Carter was shot four times, according to coroner reports.
Vann said on Feb. 6 the front door to her home had been open to let her pet Chihuahua outside. A man wearing regular clothes allegedly came inside without identifying himself to ask for Carter, she said.
“I asked him who he was, but he never told me who he was,” Vann said.
Vann claimed that when the man saw Carter inside the home, the man asked him to come out to the sun porch section of the home, she said.
Carter kept asking “Why?” which apparently caused the man to become frustrated, Vann said.
The two men went to the sun porch, where Vann said she couldn’t see Carter, but she was able to see the other man. Vann said she was in a wheelchair, and her caretaker was with her at the time.
Vann said she didn’t see the man take out his gun and shoot Carter because she used her phone to call her two other sons, Seneca and Marcello Carter, about someone entering her home.
Vann said that when she heard the first gunshot, she called one of her sons, and the man had closed the door to the sun porch before she heard a second gunshot. She said her caretaker went inside her bedroom during the incident.
Afterward, Vann said the door was opened and a male and female officer came inside to ask if she was OK. Vann said that was when she saw her son on the ground with his feet facing her.
She said Bruce Carter didn’t attack the officer. She said her son did have a box cutter on him from his warehouse job where he cuts open boxes.
Vann claimed that she hasn’t been contacted by task force investigators since the day of the shooting. Seneca Carter said the task force contacted him twice but has not spoken with Vann.
“I just feel that my son was murdered,” Vann said.
She wondered why the police, the task force and the FBI investigating the suspected robbery have been quiet about what happened.
“Why are y’all being so closed mouth about it?” Vann said.