Steven Cole: How He Was Arrested in Arlington Heights; Murder Charges Expected After Forensic Work Complete

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Video: Home of Stuart Cole, homicide victim, during arrest of his son, Steven Cole; including aftermath, securing of scene and arrival of MCAT.

Whether it’s your own beat or a beat across town, certain addresses stick in your mind when you’re a police officer. One of those would be a residence where a 5’11” 280-pound bodybuilder with ultimate fighting/martial arts experience and a history of suicidal threats and homicidal threats lives. When a call from the subject, who has made threats before, comes in from such an address, it’s enough information for the most seasoned and skeptical cop to tilt his or her head and unleash a mindful stream of scenarios that are about to unfold.

The “A” shift is different than the other two police shifts in Arlington Heights. First, it’s dark most of the shift. Most of the high school pranksters have started to settle down. The illegal solicitors that have pushed the 9:00 p.m. cutoff are long gone. An occasional drunk driver or driver under the influence of drugs is more likely to be on the road. Car burglars are primed to use the cover of darkness to prowl for unlocked cars and lie low — ducking out of the beams of headlights when a vehicle passes by. A number of reckless drivers reported might be high school kids circling a park, or they might be adults passing through town — blotto drunk, extremely hammered. Routine domestics are common — husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, he said, she said — maybe an arrest for domestic battery.

It’s routine, but it’s not routine.

It’s 11:57 p.m. Monday, June 13, 2011 — just under a week before Father’s Day. Crackling over the radio is a call for a family problem at 2645 North Stratford Rd. Two patrol cars are available. One’s busy on a traffic stop, and the officer will respond as soon as it clears the traffic stop. Another officer volunteers to respond, rushing to finish a previous call. They know this address — maybe because they were on a previous call with the subject, or maybe they just heard the alert from dispatch. The subject, Steven Cole, a 40-something bodybuilder, ex-ultimate fighter, 5’11” 280-pounds, has called 9-1-1 to inform the police that he has killed his father “because of mental and emotional abuse.” While en route, an update is heard over the radio, “weapons in the residence” supposedly “secured in the safe.” A sergeant supervisor and a commander jump in their car and respond. Another sergeant back at headquarters coordinates to notify additional personnel to come in to work the case.

Additional Arlington Heights police officers respond, and several police officers setup a perimeter surrounding the house. The subject is known to be violent. An update, now, a second 9-1-1 call about 12:13 a.m. Tuesday from Steven Cole’s mother, who is ill in an extended care facility. Her son has called her and told her he killed his father. Immediately NIPAS is activated. The Northern Illinois Police Alarm System Emergency Service Team is activated. Basically, a SWAT team is called into action. Another update — a third 9-1-1 call about 12:25 a.m. — reports that Steven Cole talked to his sister and told her that he stabbed the father and hit him with a crow bar. He also told the sister that the father was dead and that his body was downstairs in a living room area.

Paramedics are called to the scene to stage in the neighborhood at about 12:25 a.m. NIPAS personnel are ordered to protect residents near the home of the violent subject. Prospect Heights police and Buffalo Grove police have already arrived to assist. Rolling Meadows and Mount Prospect police arrive a little later. The sergeant back at headquarters requests Northwest Central Dispatch to start reverse 9-1-1 calls to the neighbors to tell them to close their windows and then stay away from windows, and turn their lights off. Residents from a few homes immediately around the suspect’s home are evacuated.

Steven Cole calls 9-1-1 again about 12:33 a.m. The incident command officer tells the 9-1-1 dispatcher to tell the call taker to request that Steven Cole come out with his hands up.

Police verbally rehearse with each other how they will make the arrest with different scenarios that the suspect could choose. Does he come out the front door? Will he come out the garage and try to jump in the car and attempt to flee in the car? Does he run out the back door? One alert officer notices a potential crossfire situation where officers could be shooting toward each other while trying to hit the suspect. He advises the incident commander. They resolve the potential crossfire issue.

At 12:52 a.m. Steven Cole advises the 9-1-1 operator that he is opening the garage door. Police see a light in the garage turn on about the same time. Police notice a car in the garage, and get chase cars in position in case Cole breaks the close perimeter. He would then be captured by police in the outer perimeter.

At about 12:55 a.m. Cole comes out the door and is ordered to get down and not to move. Police announce he is in custody and face down on the driveway. The suspect, although agitated during the entire incident, complies with police orders while he’s placed in custody. The suspect is walked to the rescue ambulance, which pulls up from staging to Canterbury Drive, just east of Stratford Road. Steven Cole is transported by paramedics with police guard to Northwest Community Hospital. According to Arlington Heights Police Department Commander Kenneth Galinski, “The subject was highly agitated and was making verbal admissions and utterances about what had taken place inside the home.”

Police then “clear” the house, checking for any additional threats or subjects. They find the body and call detectives to respond to the scene. The Major Case Assistance Team forensics team is activated a short time later.

Situation secure. Residents are notified at 1:01 a.m. by reverse 9-1-1 that the incident is over and that the situation is secure.

Additional paramedics are called to the house to check on the male body found in a lower level living room. The paramedics confirm that the body of Stuart Cole is traumatized and beyond the benefit of medical help.

Police then work to provide a barrier from the public to secure the crime scene, prepare for forensic work, and the arrival of the media.

Arlington Heights Police Investigators and Forensic Technicians are being supported by the Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT) in what is defined as a “death investigation.” Arlington Heights police believe the incident is contained to a domestic incident involving the deceased victim Stuart Cole, (69-years-old) and the suspect Steven Cole (41-years-old), who is expected to be charged once forensic evidence is obtained.

Steven Cole was transported in custody from Northwest Community Hospital to Arlington Heights Police Department Headquarters about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office will be reviewing the case today, Wednesday June 15, 2011.

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  1. I think the police and paramedic combination were handled much too slowly. It took 3 voluntary phone calls from the assailant to 911 to confess before the police actually entered the home about an HOUR later. Probably wondering what is taking them so long. Meanwhile, the father is left traumatized for over an hour and is deceased when paramedics finally arrive over an hour later. Maybe if the police and paramedics had forced their way into the residence much earlier instead of attenting to the traffic stops which were probably routine tickets (certainly of less importance than a homicide) the victim’s fate might have been different.

  2. The situation was handled with professionalism. The police multi-tasked well by assessing the situation, establishing a tight perimeter to prevent escape of the suspect, reducing risks that would otherwise be viable with a hasty intrusion, evacuating some neighbors, alerting other neighbors to stay in safe positions, and arresting the suspect without violence. The officer on the traffic stop was not significantly delayed.

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