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Police: Evanston man thought shotgun wasn’t loaded; dies after shooting self in head

Updated: August 4, 2014 2:04PM

A 31-year-old north suburban man is dead after shooting himself in the head with what he thought was an unloaded shotgun in front of a group of friends Sunday night.

Evanston police went to an apartment in the 800 block of Howard Street about 9:45 p.m. after someone called to report a man had accidentally shot himself in the head, a statement from police said.

The victim — identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office as Eric Zyzanski — was found “on the floor with a shotgun wound to his head. The shotgun was lying beside him,” police said.

He was pronounced dead at a hospital about two hours later, according to police and medical examiner’s office.

Several witnesses told police the victim was in his apartment with a group of friends when he got his shotgun and “began showing it off” until his friends “became alarmed and told him to put it away,” the statement said.

“The victim ejected 2-3 rounds” from the gun, then “held the shotgun to his cheek, told his friends it was empty and pulled the trigger,” police said.

Police said everyone they interviewed “gave consistent accounts of what had happened” and the “body and the evidence corroborated the witnesses’ accounts.”

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

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