Lawyer stops woman who
threatens to blow up office building
Originally published here
Botti stops a woman with a gun
By David Ferrara Daily Herald Staff
Posted on February 21, 2001
She strolled into Aldo Botti's law office
around 4 p.m. wearing a parka and carrying a canvas handbag, seemingly calm.
For a moment, Sara P. Bucksar-Taja sat
peacefully on a soft maroon couch in the lobby.
But police say stuffed in her bag was a .357
revolver and a Molotov-style cocktail.
If not for Botti's snap judgment, things might
have gone differently Tuesday, his partners said.
"He actually saved the lives of everyone
in this building. The entire office is extremely grateful for him," said
Peter M. DeLongis, one of Botti's partners. "He did a tremendous job."
Sara P. Bucksar-Taja apparently had plans of
destruction in the Oak Brook office of Botti, the former DuPage County Board
chairman and a leading civil attorney.
Attorney Tommy E. Haught passed the Brookfield
woman, and assuming she was a client, said hello. She said hello back.
Within seconds, Haught heard the woman
mumbling, "complaining about the judicial system." She said she lost a
custody battle and was seeking revenge, attorneys said.
Haught said he turned to see the 36-year-old
woman pointing a gun at the pregnant secretary behind the front desk. Police
later said the gun was loaded. Bucksar-Taja reached into her bag and pulled out
"a large jar" filled with gasoline, gun powder and fertilizer, Haught
Holding the gun in the face of the 23-year-old
receptionist, Bucksar-Taja tried to light the jar, police said. Another
secretary knocked the jar over and hurried to a back office.
Haught ran to tell Botti.
Botti said he already could hear the
"blood curdling" screams.
He led about 15 people into a conference room.
Nervous, he grabbed his own .357 revolver and
"When I went to get my weapon I was
nervous; I was frightened. When I got there, I was not frightened. It was
adrenaline," Botti said.
Botti walked around the back of the office and
saw a woman holding his secretary at gun point.
With both hands wrapped around the gun, the
woman turned and aimed at Botti.
"I told her if she pulled the trigger I'd
kill her," Botti said.
He stood 15 feet away, staring down the barrel
of her gun, his secretary crying beside the woman.
For about five minutes, Botti pleaded with
Bucksar-Taja to put down the gun.
With one hand, Botti motioned for the secretary
to get under the desk and out of the line of fire. She did.
Eventually, Bucksar-Taja pulled one hand from
That was about the same time that two Oak Brook
police officers arrived. After negotiating with Bucksar-Taja for about 10
minutes, she put her gun down, police said. No shots had been fired, and no one
"I didn't shoot her because I felt there
was a chance to correct the situation," Botti said.
Bucksar-Taja, of 4612 Maple St. in Brookfield,
was charged with aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated assault to a police
officer, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of aggravated
She being held without bond in DuPage County
jail Wednesday night.
The reasons why she targeted the law office at
720 Enterprise Drive remained unclear Wednesday. Botti said she was looking for
someone who once rented office space in the same building as his firm, Botti,
Marinaccio and DeLongis, Ltd.
Oak Brook Public Information Officer Mary Jo
Nugent neither applauded nor criticized Botti for his efforts. She said the
appropriate response needs to be dictated by the situation.
With the smell of gasoline still lingering from
the homemade bomb Wednesday, many were shaken.
"Anyone that wasn't frightened is
nuts," Botti said. "I was frightened."
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