03/06/2007

UPDATE: Off-duty Chicago officer shoots 1 attacker

Andrew L. Wang,
The Chicago Tribune 
 

March 5 - An off-duty Chicago police officer was leaving a Lincoln Park bar early Sunday when police said he was accosted by about eight men spoiling for a fight.

A confrontation ensued, after which two men lay bleeding in the street: the officer, stabbed twice in the abdomen, and one of his attackers, struck by a bullet from the officer's gun.

Surgeons at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center operated on both men hours after the 4 a.m. fight outside the Chi-Town Tap, 2642 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Police Department spokesman Pat Camden said. Both were reported in stable but serious condition, he said.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said department authorities had not spoken to the officer. After viewing surveillance video from a nearby business and interviewing witnesses, they had ruled that if the officer deliberately fired his gun, he acted in self-defense and within department guidelines, Bond said.

It's still unclear whether the officer fired intentionally or if the weapon discharged accidentally, she said.

The seven-year veteran of the Near North District and two friends were walking north on Lincoln after leaving Deja Vu, a bar several doors south of Chi-town Tap. A group of six to eight men approached them and "verbally accost the officer and the acquaintances as they're walking by," Bond said.

"The off-duty officer responds to the offenders, basically saying, 'We're not looking for trouble,'" she said. "At that point, the offenders advance toward them."

The men surrounded the officer, who took out his handgun and held it at his side as he identified himself as a police officer, police said.

"Suddenly, the offender lunges at him and stabs him twice in the abdomen," Bond said. The officer is "on the ground, and the rest of the offenders are beating and kicking him. His weapon discharges and hits an offender in the abdomen."

It was unclear if the man who was shot was also the man who stabbed the officer, she said.

A witness told investigators that one of the attackers grabbed the officer's gun and threw it across the street. The gun was found later, police said.

The officer was not intoxicated and alcohol was not a factor in the incident, Bond said.

Besides the man who was shot, several of the attackers, who police said are gang members, were in custody and charges were pending, Bond said.

Neighbors said the two bars on the block are full of people well into the early morning hours on weekends, and it's not uncommon to hear shouting and arguments.

"You have lots of yelling and hollering," said Maggie Koons, 23, whose apartment is near the scene of the fight. "There's always something, but never gunfire."


Copyright (c) 2007 Chicago Tribune
 

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