CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer was shot in the vest after a suspect opened fire during a foot chase in the Gresham neighborhood Tuesday morning, according to police.
A tactical officer observed a man “acting suspiciously” around 11 a.m. Tuesday and made a traffic stop near 87th Street and Ashland Avenue, according to CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson. Johnson said police have increased their presence in the area due to a gang conflict.
Officers got out of their squad car to question the man, who exited his vehicle and fled on foot. The officers gave chase. During the foot chase, police said, the suspect turned with a gun and fired at a pursuing officer.
The officer was hit in the vest before returning fire — striking the shooter in the throat. He was taken in critical condition to Advocate Christ Memorial Medical Center, while the officer was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital with minor injuries.
“The bullet did not penetrate the vest, so the officer will make a full recovery. He’s a little bit bruised up,” said Johnson, noting that the officer is an eight-year CPD veteran with a wife and two young children.
The officer was the second shot in as many days in Chicago.
Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, was fatally shot while responding to a shooting at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., on Monday afternoon. Two hospital employees — an emergency room doctor and a first-year pharmacy resident — were also killed. The gunman is dead; he was shot by police before shooting himself.
At a press conference Tuesday, Johnson spoke about Jimenez: “There is nothing I can say or do for that wife and those little kids to take that pain away.”
Johnson said he was proud of his officers for carrying on Tuesday after losing one of their own the day before: “The events of last night were tragic, horrific. But you see these officers come out here today, put on that vest, put on that star and put on that gun, and go out and do what we do every day. And that’s to serve and protect the citizens of this city.”
“My hope is that people will start to understand: We’re not perfect. We’re not,” Johnson continued. “We’re going to make mistakes. This job is not easy.”
Johnson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said they want tougher gun laws with a mental health component.
“I don’t think people are immune or numb,” Emanuel said. “I think they want to see action. We’re one of the only countries that has mass shootings.”
Emanuel praised the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which raises money to buy new bulletproof vests for police.
During Tuesday’s incident, St. Ethelreda School was placed on lockdown as officers responded to the shooting scene. Chicago police and members of the ATF were on scene investigating for several hours, closing down 87th Street from Ashland Avenue to Paulina Street. Chicago police said a weapon was recovered at the scene.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating, and the officer shot will be put on paid administrative duties for 30 days.
Watch Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel speak at a news conference Tuesday: