Portage Man Shot, Killed By Police Outside City Hall
December 10, 2014 — A Lake Station police official says three officers shot and killed an 84-year-old Portage man in the parking lot of City Hall yesterday morning after he allegedly fired a shotgun and pointed it at them.
Bob Byrd with the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force says police were called to the parking lot of City Hall at 1969 Central Ave. for a report of a man with a gun.
When the three officers arrived, John Laco allegedly fired the shot into the air and then returned to his vehicle. Police arrived quickly and ordered Laco to get out of the vehicle with his hands up, but he got out — holding the shotgun and pointed it at the officers. Byrd says they immediately fired with their weapons, striking and killing Laco.
Byrd says police later found that Laco was also carrying an inoperable pellet gun.
Lake Station Police Chief Kevin Garber described the fatal confrontation as a “very sad and unfortunate situation.” The three Lake Station officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave as a matter of routine.
Some of the gunshots damaged windows at the Public Library next door to City Hall, and the library was placed on lockdown for several hours after the incident.
Byrd said Laco had no significant prior contact with the police, but in February police rescued Laco from his former home at 2701 Central Ave., when an officer noticed that the house was on fire.
[Photo of John Laco courtesy NWI media files]