White supremacist killed in Illinois Store Standoff

Illinois Store Standoff Ends in Death

The Associated Press,/June 5, 2001

Lindenhurst, Ill. -- A 14-hour standoff between police and a man suspected of shooting two state troopers at a grocery store in this Chicago suburb ended Tuesday with police shooting and killing the suspect.

The suspect was shot to death after he opened fire on police who had entered the store to confront him, investigators said.

The suspect was identified as Eric Hanson, 27. Authorities said he was active in white supremacist circles.

The standoff began Monday after a gunman wounded two undercover officers, ordered customers out of the store and then barricaded himself inside.

State police spokesman Ken Hall said the confrontation between Hanson and police began when officers, aware his gun permit had expired, went to his home to arrest him on a misdemeanor gun charge. They gave chase when Hanson drove off as they tried to arrest him.

Hanson led police to the parking lot of the grocery store, where he opened fire, wounding the two officers, Hall said.

One of the officers was hospitalized in stable condition with wounds to the leg and chest.

The gunman fired twice at the second officer, but the shots were deflected by his bulletproof vest and he sustained only bruises, hospital officials said. The officer was examined and released.

Witnesses said the suspect looked frightened as officers first approached the store.

"He knew he was in trouble," said Stacy Mathes, who was in a checkout line when a clerk heard gunshots and told everyone to get out.

"I realized immediately there was danger and I hit the ground," said Mathes, who left her food in the checkout line and ran from the store.

"He wasn't waving the gun, he wasn't anything. He simply shot back at the officers. He was scared to death," Mathes said.

Hanson was active in white supremacist groups in Lake County, state police Master Sgt. Lincoln Hampton said. He was arrested in 1999 on a hate crime charge after he assaulted an interracial couple. Later the same year, he was arrested and charged with the illegal possession of two shotguns, a pistol, ammunition and a protective vest.

Hanson was sentenced to one year in prison on the hate-crime charge and a year on the gun charge. He served the concurrent sentences and was paroled in May 2000, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.

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