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Off-Duty CPD Officer Shot At 89th And Stony Island; Search On For Assailant

By Suzanne Le Mignot and Charlie De Mar

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Police said an off-duty officer was shot Monday in the Calumet Heights neighborhood.

It's the second shooting of a police officer in two days. As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, an all-out search was underway for the gunman Monday night.

The off-duty officer was at a light at 89th Street and Stony Island Avenue when two people in a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross started shooting directly at his vehicle. Sources said a rear-seat passenger was among those firing a weapon.

On Tuesday around 11:50 a.m., police recovered the vehicle used by the suspects at 91st and Williams.

"It's boom, boom, boom!" said witness Velma Curry. "I hit the floor, because I didn't know where it was."

Curry said she heard the gunshots around noon from her Calumet Heights neighborhood home.

"I told my husband, I said it may have been a police officer, because they came too quickly," she said.

The officer was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center following the shooting at 12:21 p.m. According to CPD Superintendent David Brown once officers heard about what happened through ShotSpotter, they immediately went to the scene and took him to the hospital.

"These three heroic women who, in my opinion, without their intervention, quick, quick thinking, to get him transported quickly as possible, got him in a surgery, likely saved his life," Brown said. "(It) just was the most heartwarming thing that we've heard today."

A doctor at the hospital said the officer sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen. The doctor said the officer suffered life-threatening injuries, but was out of surgery late Monday and was doing well and in fair condition.

"He's doing best as can be expected, and he's doing well," said U of C Medical Center surgeon Dr. Susan Rowell. "There are always potential complications that can arise."

Brown said the officer is a four-year veteran of CPD who works in the South Chicago (4th) District. Police said the officer is 32 years old. Brown would not release the officer's name but gave a little more information about him.

"He's well liked. It's been an outpouring of offers. We really had to really put the stop sign up, because offers just kept coming and kept coming," Brown said. "But he's well liked, hard working and we're just grateful for this hospital, the doctor, and the things that they've done to bring him to this point. Without any further comments, we want to try to respect the family's privacy concerns."

Brown said the department is waiting to speak to the officer's family before more information is released. Brown said this incident, along with the shooting on Sunday, "highlights the dangers" faced by police officers.

"Today, this was an off-duty incident. We all need to be aware of our surroundings, and again, we need to have real consequences for offenders when we capture them is really my bottom line statement about dangerous people," Brown said. "When we catch violent offenders, they need to be held and have significant consequences."

Brown said authorities are conducting an investigation into the shooting.

"Our detectives are conducting a preliminary investigation trying to identify either any pod cameras or private cameras or witnesses in the area," Brown said. "To see if anyone saw anything; a car license plate number or could identify any offenders. That's the extent of what we know at this point."

While the assailants' vehicle was initially described as a black Nissan Ultima, a source told CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot that police are now looking for a 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with a license plate of AQ2008.

The source said the vehicle was rented from Avis by fraudulent means.

The superintendent said a motive for the shooting is not clear. Brown said the off-duty officer was stopped at a traffic light in his car. The suspects pulled up beside him and began firing into the officer's personal vehicle.

"We don't know at this point. The circumstances suggest several different narratives of what this might be," Brown said. "Could be a misidentification, could be road rage, could be carjacking. We just don't know. It's too early to tell, given the circumstances."

Late Monday, CBS 2's Le Mignot's source said the off-duty officer had been working out at a gym on 115th Street, and a car followed him all the way from the parking lot of the gym to 89th Street. At that point, the driver pulled behind the officer, and the occupant or occupants got out and started shooting at him.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the shooting of two officers in as many days illustrates that they have "very, very difficult jobs."

"They're one of the few city employees who actually run towards danger, and we can never underestimate the difficulties of the stresses that they face every single day," Lightfoot said. "They're providing assistance to our residents and our city at a time of their greatest need, and they're as a consequence seeing incredible trauma and stress."

Lightfoot said she would be visiting the officer who was wounded on Monday at the hospital, and has been getting updates on the officer's condition from Superintendent Brown.

"I will get to the hospital and meet with the family," she said.

On Sunday, a CPD officer was shot outside the Gresham District police station.

Many people were confused as to why.

"When the cop cars started lining up here, I started noticing. I'm like, 'What's going on?'" said store manager Tiwfek Salah. "I was taking care of a customer."

Salah did not hear anything. His shop is feet from the station's parking lot. That was where at 2:33 p.m., Chicago police said a sergeant was standing when he heard a gunshot, and then felt pain - a graze wound to the chin.

The sergeant, a 26-year-veteran of the department, was released from the hospital Sunday night. No one is in custody.

Monday's shooting of an off-duty CPD officer also follows a violent weekend in Chicago where at least 40 people were shot with four of them killed.

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