Chicago, IL – A Chicago police officer is hospitalized after being shot in an ambush attack while stopped at a red light on Monday afternoon.
The broad-daylight attack marked the second time a Chicago police officer had been shot within just 24 hours.
The March 15 shooting took place at approximately 12:21 p.m., as the off-duty officer was stopped at a traffic light in the 8900-block of South Stony Island Avenue, WLS reported.
He was in his personal vehicle at the time.
According to Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent David Brown, two gunmen pulled up alongside and behind the unsuspecting officer and began shooting into his vehicle, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
CPD officers were alerted to the attack by ShotSpotter technology and responded to the scene to discover the 32-year-old officer had been hit in his lower torso, WLS reported.
89th and stony Island Ave off duty Chicago police officer shot earlier today in surgery now at the University of Chicago hospital. pic.twitter.com/Wi8ujBXkNZ
— Ravi Baichwal (@BaichwalABC7) March 15, 2021
Three female CPD officers immediately rushed him to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was taken into surgery.
The four-year department veteran was listed in fair condition on Monday evening.
Superintendent Brown said the officers’ “quick-thinking” and intervention ensured the wounded officer received emergency care as quickly as possible, WLS reported.
“They got him into surgery and likely saved his life,” he noted, calling the officers “heroic women,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Lori Lightfoot, left, walks with Surgeon Susan Rowell, center, and Supt. David Brown, towards reporters to give an update on the condition of a police officer who was shot earlier on the South Side, Monday, March 15, 2021. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times#Chicago #ChicagoScanner pic.twitter.com/8kmjvBHpt3
— Tyler LaRiviere (@TylerLaRiviere) March 15, 2021
Police have asked the public for help in identifying and locating the gunmen responsible for the ambush, WLS reported.
They are also checking local businesses to see if surveillance cameras captured anything.
The motive for the attack is unknown.
“We heard some rumors about a carjacking. We don’t know at this point,” Superintendent Brown said. “Circumstances suggest several different narratives of what this might be. Could be a misidentification, and it could be road rage, could be carjacking. We just don’t know, it’s too early to tell given the circumstances.”
I'm pleased to share that the off-duty Chicago Police officer who was shot earlier today is out of surgery and is doing as well as can be expected. Our eternal gratitude goes out to the surgeons and medical staff at @UChicagoMed who helped save the officer's life. pic.twitter.com/V0eZGBwKPm
— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) March 15, 2021
Late Monday afternoon, the CPD issued an alert saying they are searching for a black 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in connection with the shooting, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The vehicle, which has Illinois plates, was rented fraudulently from Avis, according to police.
The incident marked the second time a CPD officer had been shot in an ambush within just 24 hours.
The first attack occurred at the CPD station located at 7808 South Halstead Street at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, WMAQ reported.
A 45-year-old CPD sergeant said he was walking through a parking lot across the street from the station when he heard a gunshot, according to police.
The sergeant, who was on duty at the time, suddenly felt pain in his chin and realized he’d been shot, Superintendent Brown told the Chicago Tribune.
The wounded sergeant was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center with a graze wound to his face, WMAQ reported.
Police vehicles escorted the ambulance on its route from the scene to the hospital, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The sergeant, a 26-year veteran of the CPD, was released from the hospital on Sunday night and is recovering at home, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The CPD was still searching for the shooter on Monday night, WMAQ reported.
Superintendent Brown said investigators have been combing through private videos and city surveillance footage to help them identify and apprehend the gunman, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The attack on Sunday marked the 13th time a CPD officer has been shot at so far this year, Superintendent Brown said.
It was the first time this year that an officer has been hit by gunfire in the line of duty.
Superintendent Brown said the number of instances of officers being shot at in 2021 is currently on pace to exceed the number of officers who came under fire in 2020, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A total of 79 CPD officers were fired upon last year, he said.
“It just highlights the dangers of policing in the current environment we’re in,” the superintendent noted.
Superintendent Brown told reporters on Monday that there need to be “real consequences” for the criminals CPD captures in order for the city to become a safer place, WLS reported.
“[That] is really my bottom-line statement about the dangers,” he said. “These people, when we catch violent offenders, they need to be held and have significant consequences.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city “will spare no expense” to find the shooters and bring them to justice, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“That’s what the family expects and that’s what they deserve,” Lightfoot noted.
She said she visited the officer who was wounded in the shooting on Monday at the hospital, where she also spoke to his family, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The mayor said law enforcement officers “have a very, very difficult job.”
“They’re one of the few city employees that actually run towards danger,” she said. “And we can never underestimate the difficulties of the stresses that they face every single day. They’re providing assistance to the residents of our city at a time of their greatest need and they’re, as a consequence, seeing incredible trauma and stress.”
“This is one of the most difficult times to be a police officer, probably, in the history of policing in this country,” Lightfoot added, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.