EVANSTON, IL — An off-duty police officer was attacked and beaten by a homeless man while moonlighting as a security guard at the Evanston Public Library, authorities said.
Milton Altamirano-Sanchez, 31, was arrested around 3:30 pm on Monday and charged with aggravated battery to a police officer.
“I knocked his ass out,” Altamirano allegedly told investigators, “because he was asking for trouble.”
According to police and prosecutors, Altamirano-Sanchez was lying on his back on the floor in the Evanston Public Library’s main branch, 1703 Orrington Ave., when he was confronted by the library security staffer, who told him he needed to get up.
Altamirano-Sanchez told the off-duty cop that his back hurt. The officer called an ambulance but told the man that “if he was playing games,” he would need to leave, prosecutors said at Altamirano-Sanchez’s initial court appearance Tuesday in Skokie.
Prosecutors said the security guard identified himself as an off-duty police officer and showed his badge to Altamirano-Sanchez.
In response, Altamirano-Sanchez got up from the floor and began punching the guard, striking him at least four times in the head and knocking him to the ground. Altamirano-Sanchez, who appeared to weigh well in excess of 200 pounds, then began kicking the officer in the back, authorities said.
The officer then drew a handgun from his holster and told his attacker that he was under arrest. Altamirano-Sanchez backed away and began throwing chairs, striking the security guard several times.
Other Evanston police officers called to the scene were able to subdue Altamirano-Sanchez and take him into custody, where he admitted knowing the security guard was a cop when he attacked him.
Authorities said the entire incident was captured by security cameras.
Milton Altamirano-Sanchez, a 31-year-old homeless man, is accused of attacking and beating an off-duty Evanston police officer who was working as a security guard at the Evanston Public Library. (Evanston Police Department)
An Evanston Public Library spokesperson said library staff would work with police to figure out ways to “identify concrete steps we can take to prevent similar incidents” and improve its response, explaining all security staff are trained in de-escalation techniques.
The library has also contracted for an on-site social worker but the position is unfilled, according to the Evanston RoundTable.
No information was immediately available from library representatives regarding policies around staff carrying firearms while at work or how many people were arrested last year after being asked to leave the library.
Altamirano-Sanchez, who has a single felony conviction seven years ago for Burglary, said he used to work as a driver prior to experiencing homelessness and mental health issues, according to his court-appointed defense attorney.
Cook County Associate Judge Anthony Calabrese ordered Altramirano-Sanchez to remain detained at Cook County Jail unless he can come up with the $10,000 cash portion of his bond.
“As the officer is, luckily, able to draw his weapon to defend himself potentially it doesn’t seem to impact the defendant as he continues to throw chairs at [the officer,]” Calabrese said.
“Then to draw the unusual perspective,” he added, “in his statement to the police, that, ‘I knocked his ass out because he was looking for trouble,’ is an odd view of the world, but consistent with the view of the world that people seem to have today.”
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