03/26/2007

Chicago officer pinned by car, fatally shoots driver

By Emma Graves Fitzsimmons
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A police officer fatally shot a man Friday evening in a West Side alley after being pinned to a post by the suspect's car, authorities said.

The officer fired several times through the man's front windshield because he feared for his life, officials said.

The man's name has not been released. Police will conduct an internal review of the shooting, authorities said.

The incident began around 5:30 p.m. when two officers in a marked car tracked a red vehicle speeding at North and Kostner Avenues, said police spokesman Pat Camden. The officers called off their pursuit after seeing it speed through several lights, fearing a chase could endanger public safety, he said.

Shortly after, the officers saw the vehicle leaving an alley near Division Street and Pulaski Road as they patrolled the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Camden said.

When the driver saw the officers, he backed the car into the alley, and the police followed, trapping him, Camden said.

The cars were facing nose to nose when both officers got out of their vehicle and approached the car, where the driver was still seated. One officer attempted to open the driver's door to remove him when the man pushed the pedal, Camden said.

"He puts it in reverse and steps on the gas," Camden said at the scene Friday night.

The car ran over the officer's foot and pinned the officer against a post. The officer fired through the windshield, fatally wounding the driver, Camden said.

The driver was described as a man in his 20s. Police did not know why the man fled, Camden said.

The officer who was injured was not identified. He was sent to St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital and may have a broken foot, Camden said.

Whether the driver had a weapon in the car is part of the investigation, Camden said. The other officer did not fire his weapon because he feared he might wound his partner, Camden said.

The back yard of Alex Sauseda's home faces the alley where the shooting took place. He said he was returning home with groceries when his wife told him she had heard six shots.

"You can't be out there," he said. "I don't even let my daughter in the front yard in the summer."

Copyright 2007 Chicago Tribune

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