Probe continues in Chicago BOE president's death

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2009 7:55 PM

Divers returned to the Chicago River and investigators scoured cell phone records Tuesday as police declined to call the death of the city's school board president a suicide a day after an autopsy concluded he shot himself in the head.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, meanwhile, held a rare press conference to address doubts about its findings in the death of Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott, whose body was found near a .380-caliber handgun not far from a riverside loading dock Monday.

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Lynne Jones said her office "felt the police department was taking some unfair potshots."

Jones said there was nothing to indicate Scott's death was anything other than a suicide.

"The evidence on the body and the evidence at the scene leads us to that conclusion," she said. "What is the finding in one case, when you have the same finding in other cases, is there is no reason to come to a different conclusion when there is no evidence to lead you that way."

Friends, meanwhile, were glad to know police still were investigating.

"I don't believe Michael committed suicide, I'll tell you that," said Nelson Carlo, president of Carlo Steel Company. "He had a great family life, a great career, everything was going very smoothly for him."

Scott, 60, was last seen around 6:30 p.m. Sunday. He was reported missing overnight.

Investigators had not found a suicide note or determined the registration of the gun found near Scott's body, police spokesman Roderick Drew said. He said police divers were looking for evidence in the Chicago River, but would not elaborate except to say they were not searching for another weapon.

Chicago Public Schools faces a federal grand jury investigation into allegations of politically influenced admissions to Chicago's nine selective-enrollment high schools. The district also has been working to cope with the September beating death of a student in the street, which was caught on a cell phone camera.

Scott was among a number of officials to be subpoenaed as part of the grand jury investigation. He also drew questions over the summer about his service to the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee and his involvement with a group developing city-owned vacant lots near the site of a proposed Olympic venue.

But Carlo and others said neither the investigation nor the proposed development would have weighed heavily on Scott, a longtime Chicago civic leader.

"That was everyday, routine," Carlo said.

Scott had not made any major changes to his schedule before his death, according to CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond. She said his schedule for this week included a number of school-related activities, as well as a Tuesday event where he was to receive a Lifetime Achievement award from a youth development and violence prevention group.