CHICAGO — Thirty-eight hours before Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso was gunned down responding to a domestic battery call nine other Chicago cops came under fire in a different part of the city as they faced-off against a suspect wearing body armor.
Steven Wade, 43 of Joliet, is accused of holding a 44-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man at gunpoint in a home on the far southern edge of Chicago. Responding officers report coming under fire as they arrived at the scene. Arrest reports say Wade fired at the initial officers who responded and then fired again when the SWAT team arrived.
Police returned fire but didn’t hit anyone. No officers were injured.
Police records say Wade was wearing soft body armor and in possession of four guns including two Glocks equipped with an “auto sear.” It’s a device that transforms a semi-automatic weapon into a rapid-fire gun whose entire magazine can be fired with a single pull of the trigger.
The career criminal is charged with nine counts of attempted murder of Chicago police officers. Wade is also facing kidnapping and unlawful restraint charges for the initial incident that brought police to the home at 129th and Peoria.
Officer Vasquez-Lasso is the first officer shot in 2023; but the attempted shooting earlier this week of so many officers brings to 19 the number of Chicago police officers shot at so far this year. That’s up from four during the same time period last year. CPD data show eight officers were shot and 48 were shot at last year. That’s down from 2021 when 58 officers were shot at, 14 were shot and one was killed in the line of duty.
Arrest reports identify Wade as a gang member. Court records say he has been charged on four separate occasions over the past dozen years with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Wade was sentenced to ten years in prison for a 2010 incident in Forest Park in which he was convicted of driving under the influence, damage to government property and aggravated fleeting from police. Cook County court records show two years later he was charged with home invasion, kidnapping and armed robbery related to an incident in Bridgeview. However those charges were ultimately dropped the same day he received the ten year prison sentence in the Forest Park case. He’s also repeatedly been charged as being a felon in possession of a weapon and battery to police officers.
WGN reported earlier this week of a huge increase in the number of illegal gun conversion. CPD data reveals that in all of 2021, officers recovered 395 firearms with a switch attachment or a firearm that had been modified. From the start of January 2022 through Dec. 9, officers recovered 463 firearms with a switch attachment or firearms that had been modified.