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Crime & Courts

Ottawa 19-year-old who asked police to shoot him at gas station is charged

Nicholas Bantista
Nicholas Bantista

OTTAWA – A La Salle County judge set bond at $20,000 Friday for a 19-year-old Ottawa man who police say tried to goad them into shooting him before shooting himself in the head with a BB gun.

Nicholas Bantista, 19, is charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer in connection with the incident. If found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years or up to a $25,000 fine.

Police said Bantista brandished a weapon at officers June 5 in Leland in hopes police would kill him.

Leland police were called about 11 p.m. to a Casey's gas station in the 100 block of North Main Street for a report of a man with a gun. Upon arrival, officers encountered Bantista, who pointed the weapon at them and threatened to kill himself, Leland Police Chief Jason Bragg has said. A brief standoff between the man and officers ensued, before police subdued him and took him into custody.

Bragg said Bantista repeatedly asked police to shoot him before using his own weapon, which turned out to be a BB gun, to shoot himself multiple times in the head.

Bantista was hospitalized at Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital in Sandwich with multiple head wounds. He was arrested Thursday after La Salle County prosecutors decided to charge him.

Bantista would have to post $2,000 cash to be released. He remained in the La Salle County Jail on Friday. He was appointed a public defender.

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