Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chicago Shooting Leaves 3 Officers Wounded and Gunman Dead
New York Times
MARCH 15, 2016

Chicago police officers at the shooting scene, where a weapon was recovered. The case is under investigation. Credit Nuccio Dinuzzo/Chicago Tribune, via Associated Press

CHICAGO — Three Chicago police officers were wounded Monday night in an exchange of gunfire that left their assailant dead, said John J. Escalante, this city’s interim police superintendent.

Mr. Escalante said the officers, who are all department veterans assigned to a tactical unit on the West Side, were expected to survive.

The gunfire started about 9:40 p.m. when the officers, who were conducting a narcotics investigation, approached two people, one male and one female, whom they considered suspicious, Mr. Escalante said in a news briefing that was recorded and posted to Twitter by a Chicago Tribune reporter.

The officers announced themselves and planned to interview the two, Mr. Escalante said, but “at that point the male subject produced a handgun and immediately began firing at the officers.”

At least one officer returned fire, and the gunman was pronounced dead at the scene, Mr. Escalante said. He said the other person was not injured and was taken into custody.

The police did not immediately release the names or ages of the civilians or the officers. The shooting happened in the courtyard of a building across the street from an elementary school.

The incident comes at a time of intense scrutiny of the Chicago police, a force of about 12,000 officers that is being investigated by the Justice Department. Violent crime here has spiked this year, a search is underway for a permanent superintendent, and leaders of the local police union have said that officer morale is low.

The department’s previous leader, Garry F. McCarthy, was fired last year, days after an officer was charged with murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager. The release of dash camera footage depicting that shooting prompted weeks of intense protests and promises of reform from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Shortly after Monday’s shooting, Mr. Emanuel released a statement saying that Chicago had been “reminded of the dangers that our police face” and that the “thoughts and prayers of our entire city are with the officers and their families.” Mr. Escalante said he and the mayor had met with the wounded officers at the hospital where they were being treated.

In an official statement early Tuesday, the Police Department said that a weapon had been recovered at the shooting scene and that the city’s Independent Police Review Authority was investigating.

Monday’s shooting came one day after a Maryland police officer, Jacai Colson, was fatally shot in suburban Washington. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that tracks officer deaths, 23 American law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty this year. No Chicago police officer has died on duty since 2011, according to that website.

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