Father ends son’s life by removing suport system

Nurses kept at gunpoint while child dies

CHICAGO (AP)- A tearful father unhooked his son’s life-support system early Wednesday, then took him into his arms and kept hospital workers at gunpoint until the baby was dead, authorities said.

“I’m not here to hurt anyone. I’ll only hurt you if you try to plug my baby back in,” police quoted Rudy Linares, 23, as saying.

The painter from west suburban Cicero was charged with murdering his 16-month-old son, Samuel, said Lisa Howard, spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Linares was held at a police lockup pending an appearance in bond court. His wife, who said the couple had planned to see a lawyer Friday about having the child’s life-support system disconnected, was not charged in the case.

“This is the best thing,” Mrs. Linares told radio station WBBM-AM. “Sammy is out of his misery.”

The couple have two other children, both under 5.

Police said Linares and his wife, Tamara, walked into Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center about 1 a.m. and were escorted to the pediatric intensive care unit, where their son’s breathing had been sustained on a ventilator since an accident in August.

About 20 minutes later, Linares pulled out a .357-caliber handgun, ordered hospital staff out of the unit, unhooked the infant from the life-support system and sat with his son in his arms.

“You can understand the motivation,” Police Sgt. William Rooney said. “I guess he didn’t want his child to continue living under those conditions.”

Three other youngsters were in the unit at the time as about a half-dozen security personnel who responded to the nurse’s call stood helpless just outside the room, said Rush-Presbyterian spokeswoman Carolyn Reed.

Linares eventually allowed nurses to enter the unit and remove the three other youngsters. About 30 minutes after the incident began, the child was dead, Rooney said.

“He never pointed the gun at anyone other than the child,” said Rooney. “He sat there in a chair until the baby had expired, then turned the gun over to the officers.”

Linares was “calm at times … he did a lot of crying,” said Detective Gary Bulava.

Linares had unhooked his son’s life support system during a Dec. 30 visit, and staff members had reconnected the breathing apparatus, Bulava said. When he first arrived early Wednesday, he spoke briefly with security personnel, but was not searched, Bulava added.

A police spokesman who declined to be identified said no charge resulted from the earlier incident because police had not been notified. The hospital declined immediate comment on the earlier incident.

Hospital spokeswoman Reed said Samuel had been brought to Rush-Presbyterian by ambulance last summer with a blocked windpipe after he swallowed an object, believed to be either a balloon or a small piece of aluminum foil.

Oxygen deprivation left him “partially brain dead,” according to Reed, and Samuel had been in a coma since his arrival eight months ago. Mrs. Linares said doctors worked 12 hours to resuscitate her son then, despite their pleas to the contrary.

Doctors had notified the parents earlier Tuesday that the child was to be transferred to a long-term care unit, Reed said.

Lineras had been arrested on misdemeanor charges three times in recent years, but the counts were unrelated in nature to Wednesday’s charge, said a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case. Lineras was never convicted, said the source, who declined to be identified.

In the working-class neighborhood where the Linareses live, neighbors expressed both resignation and surprise.

“They were very, very polite people,” said Bernice Kielb, who lived two doors away. “I can’t imagine what possessed him unless he got a bill in the mail. You can’t say he didn’t love that baby.”

Across the street, Diana Munoz said she had asked Linares on Tuesday how the baby was doing and he responded with a shrug, “Still the same. …”

“It shocked me,” she added. “He was too nice of a guy.”

Munoz also said Linares talked often of the child, telling her recently the couple already had made funeral arrangements for Samuel.