Sunday, 21 July 2013

Jeffrey & Jill Erikson

This modern day Bonnie & Clyde emulated their screen & real life heroes by dying in a hail of bullets.  But the only difference being is that their deaths were self-inflicted.  Jeffrey Erikson was a former marine were he became a marksman, then enrolled in the Police Department, but supposedly did not make the grade.  His family said he was too soft on making arrests, that he did not like ruining peoples` lives.  He then opened a used bookshop and was doing well with it.  He was in his early thirties.  His wife, Jill, 27, was a lab technician, and studying for a degree in a local college.

    In early 1991, a series of bank robberies occurred around Chicago and it`s suburbs, in which a man with an obvious false beard, drew a gun and threatened to kill them if they did not comply.  A Police Officer was shot and wounded by a man when he made a traffic stop.  This man turned out to be Erikson.  The hunt for the robber was led by the FBI.  After each robbery, an abandoned Japanese car was found not far from the scene, so patrols were stepped up for any Japanese cars left parked and checking if the ignition had been removed.  One day, such a car was found and so it was staked out.  A van pulled by it and a man got into it, but it was quickly surrounded by armed officers.  Twice, he was going to reach for a gun but eventually raised his hands.  However, the van sped off and a pursuit started, lasting for miles, in which shots were repeatedly fired from the van.  POlice managed to shoot out the rear tyres, but the van turned into what was a dead-end, it turned around and headed for the Police who had blocked the entrance.  Police opened fire and the van crashed, then a solitary shot rang out. The driver was Jill Erikson.  She was pronounced dead, a few hours later.

    Jeff Erikson stood trial for eight robberies but when being transferred from the courthouse, he had managed to acquire a key that opened his handcuffs, then he snatched a gun from one of the guards, and shot the other guard, Roy Frakes, dead.  Running from the building, he ran into former cop and court security officer, Harry Benuomini, whom he shot in the chest.  But the officer returned fire hitting Erikson.  Erikson, it is said, then shot himself dead.

    What about the Eriksons?  They lived in the Hanover Park suburb of Chicago but did not mix with their neighbours, preferring to ride motorbikes during the night.  Jill Erikson was having mental health issues and was on prozac.  According to Jeff, she also drank when taking her pills and could turn aggressive, but said that mostly she was very calm.  When the FBI  searched their home, they found a considerable arsenal of weaponry and ammunition.  In the vcr was a tape of the film "Bonnie & Clyde" and it was set at the moment of their demise.  They wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.