On March 9, 2005, an individual was pulled over by a West Allis, WI policeman in a "routine traffic stop." Before the officer could fully approach
the car, the individual committed suicide with a self-inflicted 9mm gunshot to the head. Upon searching the vehicle, evidence has been uncovered
which could link this individual to the recent slayings of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother in her Chicago home the prior
Investigators today said a Chicago man who shot himself in the head during a traffic stop Wednesday evening in Wisconsin had a suicide note claiming
responsibility for the slayings of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother last week.
The note listed people that Bart Ross—whose last known address was in the 4500 block of North Bernard Avenue—thought had mistreated him, including
judges. One source called it "basically, a hit list."
Sources also said they recovered a stocking cap and coveralls from Ross' van that could link the man to the sketch of the older of two suspicious
individuals that witnesses saw near the judge's Chicago home the day of the slayings.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
While this recent development is quite interesting and seems to tie up the Lefkow killings quite neatly, there is some information provided in this
article which is puzzling.
The article pointed to approximately 300 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition which were found in the individual's car upon searching it after his
suicide. The article goes on to indicate that the ammunition matches spent casings left at the Lefkow home after the murders. Later in the article
it was indicated that Ross committed suicide with a 9mm gunshot to the head which nearly hit the officer who had pulled him over as that officer
approached the car.
The first point of my concern is the different caliber weapons used in the suicide and the murders. Sure it's possible that Ross had multiple weapons
with him, but it's unclear why he would choose the .22 to commit murder while the 9mm was reserved for his own suicide. Though the .22 is a smaller
caliber weapon which would produce a quieter report while committing the murders, the 9mm would have been just as effective if only a bit louder.
Also, Ross would have been quite privy to the killing effects of a .22 after using one to murder Lefkow's husband and mother so, why commit suicide
with a 9mm?
Continuing with the speculation and article, forensic examiners have been stumped by the fact that they located .22 casings at the Lefkow home at all.
Typically .22's are revolvers and do not eject their casings, but .22 casings were found in multiple locations at the scene indicating port ejection
from a weapon or a hasty reloading.
An additional article from the Chicago Tribune indicates that Lefkow's husband and mother were killed with one shot to the head each. Combined with
information from the initial article which indicated that one shell casing was found beneath the a victim while the other was found behind papers on a
low-lying shelf, this also seems odd. Why reload if you only fired two shots? If one casing is beneath a victim, then that casing belongs to the
bullet that killed the first victim. Why reload after only one shot?
Moving on from the text of the article and my own speculation, there are the photographs to consider. If the officer was nearly struck by the bullet
which Ross used to commit suicide, that bullet would have had to leave the vehicle. Police officers are trained to approach a vehicle from the rear
and engage suspects from either the driver's side or passenger's side window. Looking at the photographs, there is no indication of shattered glass
on or around the vehicle. One photo shows a passenger door open (with window clearly in tact). Another shows investigators looking through the
vehicle from the driver's side door with no glass on the ground surrounding the vehicle. Now, I will admit that it appears as if the driver's side
window could have been down at the time, hence no glass, but if you have a suicide note ready and the gun loaded and ready, why would you roll down
your window for the officer who just pulled you over? If you're planning on shooting yourself in the head, you're not going to need to hand over your
license and registration. On top of that, the weather in Milwaukee yesterday (West Allis is a suburb of Milwaukee) was cold. High of 27F and low of
16F. The temperature never got above freezing and was likely closer to the low at the time of the suicide than the high (shooting occurred in the
evening). Again, why roll down your window on a really cold day, when you're planning to commit suicide in the next 30 seconds?
Added to my glass issue is another article listed in the Chicago Tribune which describes the officer's side of the events. In that article, the
officer indicates that the fatal shot blew out the driver's side window. Again, no pictures show broken glass on the ground near the vehicle or
remnants of glass in the door frame. (That article is listed in my supporting links for reference.)
I'm not going to say that this is a coverup, but there are definitely some pieces that don't exactly fit. You be the judge.
Related News Links: