Watch CBS News

Chicago Police Officer Kevin Bunge Faces Charges In Shooting Of 2 Men In Car On Irving Park Road; Men's Attorney Notes Bunge's Role At Police Academy

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago Police officer already stripped of his police powers has now been charged criminally after shooting two men while off duty back in December.

The incident was all caught on surveillance video, and on Wednesday, the officer, Kevin Bunge, was forced to turn himself in.

The incident happened at 10:48 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 in the 3300 block of West Irving Park Road. What played out along the busy road was not clear until surveillance video highlighted a completely different account of what the officer told investigators.

On Wednesday night, Bunge was suspended and stood charged with opening fire on two people parked in the street.

The video shows a man identified as Bunge jumping out with a gun and firing at two people sitting in a red car. The car quickly reverses the wrong way down Irving Park Road, trying to avoid the multiple shots coming their way.

"My clients were unarmed and shot by this officer," said attorney Brad Thomson.

Thomson said Bunge overreacted when a car parked behind him.

"If you're an individual that views somebody parking on the same street that you're parked on as deadly threat, that shows a problem with judgment," Thomson said.

The men eventually pulled into the parking lot of a nearby 7-Eleven and called 911.

Video released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability shows one man's hand bleeding from a bullet wound and glass, as well as a shattered driver-side window.

When police responded, the off-duty officer told investigators the men aimed guns at him first. But the only gun police found belonged to the officer – and video indicated the opposite chain of events to Bunge's story.

In court, Bunge's attorneys changed the narrative slightly, claiming the officer feared the men were going to carjack him after two previous failed carjackings in recent prior weeks.

"A reasonable response might be to drive away. To get out of the vehicle and approach individuals that you supposedly are afraid of is not reasonable," Thomson said.

Bunge is now charged with aggravated battery with a handgun and aggravated discharge of a handgun. Yet Thomson said what is more concerning for everyone is the duty the officer holds.

"The fact this officer is an instructor for the use of force for the Police Academy reflects that there's a systemic problem in the Chicago Police Department and how they train on the use of force," he said.

The two men - Jomner Orozco Carreto and Carlos Ramirez – have filed a lawsuit against the officer and the City of Chicago. The suit was filed in February.

The lawsuit said Orozco was driving at the time of the incident, while Ramirez was in the passenger seat. They were headed out to meet another friend and were traveling west on Irving Park Road at the time, the lawsuit said.

Ramirez was using his GPS to navigate and provide directions to Orozco, and Orozco had doubts about the directions the GPS was providing and decided to pull over to use the GPS safely on his own.

Orozco pulled to the side of the road on Irving Park Road, where the officer involved – identified in the lawsuit as Kevin Bunge – was sitting in a sport-utility vehicle parked in front of Orozco's car after just having finished his shift, the lawsuit said.

While Orozco and Ramirez were parked legally on the street trying to figure out directions, Bunge came up with holding a handgun and displaying a police star around his neck, the lawsuit alleged.

The suit went on to claim that "without cause or justification," Officer Bunge pointed his gun toward Orozco and Ramirez and shot at them several times. Orozco understood his and Ramirez's lives were in danger, so he rapidly reversed and sped off, the lawsuit said.

The People's Law Office said Orozco and Ramirez then called 911 and went to a nearby store to seek help.

Orozco was the one who was shot in the hand, and he ended up with significant injuries to two fingers, the lawsuit said.

Glass from the shattered car window also hit Ramirez in the face, and the noise from the gunshots was so loud that it caused significant pain and hearing loss in his left ear, the lawsuit alleged.

The shooting also left bullet holes in Orozco's car, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accused Officer Bunge of making false statements in police reports he went on to complete, so as to "cover up his wrongdoing."

"Adding insult to injury, Chicago police officers placed both men under arrest, despite the fact that they were victims of this unprovoked shooting," the People's Law Office said in a February news release.

Quoted in a news release from the law office, Orozco said: "I hope no one else ever has to experience what happened to us. The police department needs to control its officers. This should never have happened, and we will fight for justice."

Ramirez was quoted as saying of the officer involved: "He should be fired. He is too dangerous to be a law enforcement officer. I thought we were going to die. I don't want this to ever happen to anyone else. That really helps me fight for justice."

The lawsuit sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. It was filed by Thomson and Jan Susler of the People's Law Office.

Late Wednesday, Officer Bunge was out on bond. But later this month, a judge will decide if Bunge must surrender all firearms.

COPA is also still looking into the case.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.