By Peter Nickeas
CHICAGO — A retired Chicago police sergeant was shot and critically wounded after two robbers broke into his home in the East Side neighborhood and asked where he kept his safe, police said.
The homeowner, 73, was shot in the neck and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit, according to his caregiver, Eva Luna.
"He's a very nice guy, he's a very good man," Luna said outside the hospital after the homeowner underwent surgery. "It doesn't matter what age you are. ... If they want to steal or take something, take it, but don't hurt nobody. You know you're going to get what you want. Just don't hurt them. It's terrible."
The two robbers entered the home at 115th Street and Avenue G through an unlocked door just before midnight Monday and asked the retired sergeant about a safe in the house. The man told them and was shot when the safe couldn't be opened, police said.
The intruders fled out a side door. The man's wife was home but not wounded, police said.
About a half-hour after the shooting, the man's grandson pulled up in a silver car and jumped out, leaving the lights on. An officer in a Bears hoodie, standing under the street light at 115th and Avenue G, tried to cut him off from entering the crime scene.
“Do you remember me? Do you remember me?” the officer asked.
The young man, with dark hair and a short beard, waited outside the crime scene tape for a half an hour before police took him away.
Luna said the retired sergeant suffers from diabetes and other medical problems. "He's blind, he's very ill," she said. "He needs 24-hour guidance.
"Just last week I was telling him there was a break-in around the corner," she added.
The neighborhood of mostly brick homes near the state border with Indiana is home to many police officers and other city workers. About a block away from the shooting, former Ald. Ed Vrdolyak’s sprawling home sits across the street from a large park and St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church. The retired sergeant’s home is immediately south of the park.
Luna and residents along the street said there have been several break-ins in the neighborhood recently.
"It makes you afraid," Loretta Nimon, 61, said from her porch down the block from the shooting.
Nimon has always lived in this pocket of Chicago separated from the rest of the city by trains and bridges. "Always East Side," she said. "We used to sit outside til all hours of the morning, now you can't because you don't know who's going to be shooting."
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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