Washington — An off-duty Chicago police officer is fighting for his life after being shot Wednesday. Now police are searching for the suspect who shot one of their own.
The unnamed 25-year-old officer, who was off-duty at the time, is expected to survive what Superintendent Eddie Johnson decried as senseless violence. "The same gun violence that affects those living in our communities affects us also," Johnson said.
Over the last nine days, five officers across the country have been shot and killed. Racine, Wisconsin officer John Hetland was shot on June 17. Cpl. Jose "Speedy" Espericueta of the Mission, Texas, police department was shot June 20. Near St. Louis, officer Michael Langsdorf was shot June 23. In Illinois, Deputy Troy Chisum was shot Tuesday.
Sacramento, California, officerwas killed last Wednesday. She was ambushed while responding to a domestic violence call.
Despite the spate of killings, officer fatalities are down 35% compared to the same time last year. Still, retired police chief Terry Cunningham said the deaths take a toll on the entire police force.
"One of the issues that we need to deal with is that cumulative effect of stress and trauma on officers. We're expecting officers to work longer hours, answer more calls, and that just stacks up on them and it's a really difficult thing for an officer to go through," he said.
Police departments are also struggling to recruit and retain officers. Officer suicides have been rising over the last three years, to the point where officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.