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15-Year-Old's Condition Stable, Police Officer Improving After They Were Shot During Chase Of Robbery Suspect

CHICAGO (CBS)-- A Chicago police officer and a 15-year-old boy remained in the hospital Wednesday morning, after a police chase ended in a chaotic scene in the Old Irving Park neighborhood Tuesday night.

The suspected bank robber was shot and killed by police, after a gun battle with officers inside a music studio. The medical examiner identified him as Christopher Terrell Willis, 32, of the 6000 block of South Rhodes. He has an extensive criminal record that goes back to 2002.

At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Chicago Police First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio said the teenager was shot in the arm by a police officer from Des Plaines, where the robbery happened. The bullet lodged in the teen's chest or abdomen. The Chicago Police officer, who was shot by the robbery suspect while still in his car, had bleeding on his brain, but it has subsided and his condition was improving.

The suspect led police on a chase from Des Plaines all the way to the Old Irving Park neighborhood, where police say he shot the officer, and then was shot and killed in a gun battle with Des Plaines police inside the music school.

The gunfire in the music school wounded the 15-year-old boy, a student at Lane Tech. Police initially said he was there taking a piano lesson, but it was later clarified that he was working the front desk at the music school.

Chicago police said Wednesday afternoon it was a Des Plaines officer who shot the boy, while firing at the suspect, who did not fire any shots while inside the music school.

He was taken to Lurie Children's Hospital in critical condition. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has visited with his parents, and his condition has stabilized.

"He was having surgery. All indications are that, after a lengthy surgery, he is in stable condition," Lightfoot said. "It's obviously impossible for me not to think about his condition, and the trauma to his family, in light of my own status as a mother, and just as a person who cares about what happens in this city."

The wounded officer remained in the intensive care unit Wednesday morning at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Lightfoot said he was in serious but stable condition. Police said he'll likely remain in ICU another 24 to 36 hours. Police have not released the officer's identity, but said he's been on the force for 17 years, and has been decorated with more than 100 commendations for his service.

As she presided over a City Council meeting on Wednesday, Lightfoot asked for prayers for the boy and the officer.

"It's a devastating thing when we have something like this happen. We can't treat it as just business as usual, because it's not, and particularly for the young man and the officer, their lives will forever be marked by the events of last night," she said.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said it all started with a bank robbery almost 11 miles away in suburban Des Plaines. Following the robbery, police in Des Plaines were able to capture one of the offenders who fled on foot.

But the other bank robbery suspect remained at large and went on to steal a car and drive toward the city, Johnson said.

FBI agents, and Chicago, Des Plaines, and Illinois State Police officers were able to track the suspect's movements. Chicago Police were waiting when the suspect got off the Kennedy Expressway at Irving Park Road at about 6:53 p.m., Johnson said.

Upon seeing Chicago Police at Irving Park Road near Kildare Avenue, the robbery suspect fired at the vehicles – striking a Chicago Police officer in the head, Johnson said. The officer suffered a skull fracture and was in serious condition.

The officer's doctors said the next 24 hours are critical for his recovery, because the officer suffered a skull fracture and bleeding on his brain.

Chicago police confirmed the officer is recovering at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. The injured officer is 46 years old, and a 17-year veteran of CPD.

Police confirmed the injured officer has received over 100 awards from the department and was detailed to the 17th district in Albany Park.

Des Plaines police continued their pursuit after the officer was shot. The chase eventually ended in a music school, believed to be UpBeat Music and Arts at 4318 W. Irving Park Rd. Des Plaines police and the suspect exchanged gunfire, and the 32-year-old suspect was shot and killed, Johnson said.

No shots were fired by Chicago Police officers.

Gerald Liu, who said he was picking up his kids from the YMCA across the street at the time, said the gunshots sent people running for cover.

"I was driving my kids home from swim practice, and I actually saw a couple police cars chase down this way, and heard a couple gunshots, and saw a bunch of kids just duck and cover and run into the convenience store," he said.

The music school, UpBeat Music and Arts, took to Facebook to provide an update on the wounded teen. The music school confirmed the teen is a student intern.

The music school said classes will be canceled Wednesday, while the investigation continues.

This is a developing story.


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