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July 16, 2007
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Chicago officer shoots man in struggle for gun

Cop shoots man in alleged struggle for gun
 
By Andrew L. Wang, Tribune staff reporter
The Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO A Chicago police officer shot and wounded a man who allegedly grabbed his partner's gun during a struggle Sunday morning on the Far South Side.

Harvey Ald. Keith Price identified the wounded man as his cousin Lamont Coleman, 23.

The incident began about 11:30 a.m. in the 11500 block of South Princeton Avenue, where officers signaled a driver to pull over his car, said police spokesman Pat Camden. But instead of stopping, the driver sped halfway down the block, turned and went through some empty lots, Camden said.

He then stopped in an alley, jumped out of the car with a loaded 9 mm pistol and ran through a gangway, Camden said. Two officers called to the scene and approaching on South Yale Avenue spotted the man hiding in bushes and saw him throw the gun, which police later found, into the street, Camden said.

When the officers tried to take him into custody, the man attacked them, Camden said.

"The offender charges into one of the officers and tackles him," Camden said. "In the struggle he now has his hands on the officer's weapon."

Camden said the officer yelled to his partner, "He's got the gun!" and the partner opened fire, striking the man in the shoulder.

Stephanie Henderson, who lives across the street from the scene of the shooting, said she was preparing to go out to breakfast with her husband when she heard a gunshot. She said she ran to her front porch and saw officers struggling with a man. One officer held the man prone with a knee in his back as he handcuffed him, she said. Henderson said the man yelled out, "You all just going to shoot me like that?"

Coleman's relatives, some of whom went to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was taken after the shooting, gathered later in the afternoon at the scene on Yale. They said Sunday's incident was his second run-in with police in a month.

Cook County court records show that last month Coleman was charged with misdemeanor cannabis possession and resisting an officer. That case is pending.

Records also show one felony drug possession conviction, for which Coleman was sentenced in 2002 to 2 years' probation, which he completed.

Sunday's shooting was under investigation by Calumet Area detectives and the police Office of Professional Standards.

Hours after the incident, Coleman's relatives were still on Yale, where blood was on the grass and street. They alleged that police officers were overly aggressive in subduing Coleman after the shooting.

Camden said late Sunday that he was unaware of such allegations and that people with allegations of inappropriate behavior by police should contact OPS.

Karen Jackson, another of Coleman's cousins, said the family will push for answers from the department.

"He has a family who cares about him," she said. "We're going to dig into this case."

Copyright 2007 Chicago Tribune

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