2 Chicago cops shot after 2 vehicles pull up next to their car, police say

Last Updated May 3, 2017 10:13 AM EDT

CHICAGO -- Two plain-clothes Chicago police officers were shot and wounded as they sat in an unmarked vehicle in what authorities are describing as a targeted attack on the city's South Side. A manhunt is underway Wednesday. 

Two vehicles pulled up alongside the officers and opened fire Tuesday evening in the high-crime Back of the Yards neighborhood. One officer was shot in the arm and hip and the other in the back, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

The officers were conducting a follow-up investigation to a previous incident, but Guglielmi said they were wearing civilian clothes with vests bearing police badges. Johnson said their vehicle was unmarked.

"We believe that the officers were definitely targeted," Guglielmi told The Associated Press.

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Scene on Chicago's South Side where two police officers were shot on night of May 2, 2017.

CBS Chicago

Witnesses told CBS Chicago they heard several rounds fired.  

Chris Villanueva, 36, said he was walking back to his car in a strip mall parking lot south of the shooting scene, when he heard about a dozen rapid-fire shots.

"I thought it was fireworks maybe, but around here you hear gunshots a lot," he told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Next thing, cops are everywhere.

Authorities are searching for suspects and are questioning three people of interest, Guglielmi said. Police believe the officers were shot with a high powered weapon, and have recovered two guns and a vehicle that could be linked to the shooting.   

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson visited the wounded officers at Stroger Hospital and said both were alert and expected to recover. 

"They're doing quite well, thank God," Johnson said outside the hospital. 

The officers' families were there. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and aldermen were also at the hospital, CBS Chicago reports. Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said he met briefly with both officers, the station added.