Park Forest Police Officer Craig Taylor is charged with felony reckless conduct in the death of a 95-year-old man at a senior facility.
He was allowed to remain free without posting bond Wednesday.
John Wrana, 95, died during an altercation with police at the Victory Centre Senior Living Facility in the south suburb. Officer Taylor used a stun gun and fired beanbag rounds at the elderly man, prosecutors say.
Workers at the senior home called paramedics in July 2013 when Wrana became belligerent. They called police, who used a stun gun on Wrana. When that didn't work, Officer Taylor allegedly shot Wrana, who was sitting in a chair, in the stomach with six beanbag rounds from a shotgun.
Police say Wrana threatened workers and officers with a cane, 2-foot-long metal shoehorn originally thought to be a machete and 12-inch butcher knife.
Wrana died from internal bleeding hours after the altercation.
Wrana's family believes excessive force was used, and their attorney said he would have preferred an upgraded charge.
"In an ideal world, perhaps involuntary manslaughter because the statute says where there is a death. There is no question, there was a death that resulted here," Nicholas Grapsas, Wrana family attorney, said.
Taylor, 43, and the father of five, has a spotless record, according to attorney Terry Ekl, and was following orders.
"This is a tragic incident. There no question about that but every tragic incident does not translate into a criminal act. From what I know about this case, I don't believe Officer Taylor engaged in any criminal behavior whatsoever," Ekl said.
Last year, Wrana's family called for an investigation into the case. That led to the charges announced Wednesday. Prosecutors said Taylor was 6 to 8 feet from Wrana when he fired the beanbags, and the required minimum distance is 15 feet.
If convicted, Taylor, a 10-year-veteran with the Park Forest Police Department, faces a 1 to 3 year prison term, according to the Cook County State's Attorney. No other officers are charged in the case.