Chicago cop accidentally shoots himself at courthouse

Officer was in the weapons room at the back of the courthouse when the gun discharged, striking the officer in the upper leg

By Deanese Williams-Harris and Lauren Zumbach
Chicago Tribune

COOK COUNTY, Ill. — A Chicago police officer accidentally shot himself at the Bridgeview courthouse Wednesday morning. Authorities said the wound was not serious, and no one else was injured.

The officer was in the weapons room at the back of the courthouse when the gun discharged around 9:30 a.m., striking the officer in the upper leg, according to sheriff's officials.

He was taken to a hospital, and his injuries were not life-threatening.

The officer was taking a gun from a locker when it went off, sheriff's officials said.

The officer went to get his gun as the courthouse was being evacuated because a smoke detector had gone off in the law library. The alarm apparently malfunctioned and there was no fire, officials said.

Several bystanders in the courthouse said they did not hear the gunshot and weren't aware of what happened until well after they were allowed back in the building.

"We thought it was just a false alarm. We didn't hear about the officer until later," said Orland Park police Officer Brian Eppolito.

Kathleen Connors and Ryan Smith, both of Oak Lawn, were in a courtroom when the fire alarm sounded.

Smith said he and a number of others in the courtroom smelled smoke, while Connors described an odor like burning rubber.

"It was very orderly. No one panicked, no one ran," Connors said. She said that people didn't seem to be in a rush to leave and that they stood in the hallway outside the courtroom for about five minutes before being told to leave.

They said they waited outside about 45 minutes before returning through security.

Copyright 2015 the Chicago Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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