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Off-duty Chicago cop shot during robbery attempt

An off-duty Chicago police officer was “alert and talking” after he was shot in the chest during an apparent robbery attempt early Friday morning

By Jeremy Gorner, Alexandra Chachkevitch and Quinn Ford
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — An off-duty Chicago police officer was “alert and talking” after he was shot in the chest during an apparent robbery attempt early Friday morning on the South Side, authorities said.

“He’s very, very lucky,” First Deputy Supt. Al Wysinger said outside Mount Sinai Hospital, where the 41-year-old officer was stable.

The officer was leaving a lounge near 75th Street and Langley Avenue in the Park Manor neighborhood around 12:50 a.m. when he was approached by three robbers as he got into his white BMW, according to police.

“The officer, sensing that something was wrong, attempted to drive away,” Wysinger said. “As he attempted to drive away, one of the subjects fired shots into the officer’s vehicle, striking him in the chest.

“The officer was able to continue driving and flagged down a marked squad car, at which point that vehicle took him over to the University of Chicago Hospital. He was stabilized at the University of Chicago and then transferred here to Mount Sinai,” Wysinger told reporters outside the hospital.

Wysinger said the officer was off-duty and not wearing a vest. “He was shot once in his upper chest,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why he’s very lucky to be as alert as he is and talking. So again, he’s very, very lucky.”

He said the shooting appeared to be an attempted robbery and no one was in custody.

“We don’t think that he was targeted,” Wysinger said. “He just happened to be sitting in his vehicle at the time when these subjects approached. . . As we know right now, we don’t see a pattern of robberies at that particular location.”

The officer is the recipient of 22 departmental awards, including 16 honorable mentions, according to a statement from Police News Affairs. He is assigned to the Grand Crossing District.

“His family members are with him now,” Wysinger said. “We have our chaplain’s unit and our peer support people with him.”

A cousin of the officer said he was in “good spirits” and “praising God that it wasn’t his time yet.”

“He just knew that something was going, so his instinct kicked in,” Felicia Warner said outside the hospital. “He got in the car and they started shooting.”

At the scene, the wounded officer’s car was cordoned off in the 7300 block of Champlain. Officers combed the block east and the block west of Champlain, looking for casings and any other evidence.

Police taped off the 7400 block of Langley Avenue, where there was shattered glass on the street from the officer’s car. Officers were also stationed outside the President’s Lounge on 75th Street.

At the hospital, more than a dozen squad cars were parked outside. Some officers in uniform and plainclothes wandered around the front of the hospital. A small group of Illinois State Police troopers gathered along Ogden Avenue.

Around 2:20 a.m., an ambulance from the University of Chicago Medical Center left.

Copyright 2014 the Chicago Tribune

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