A Chicago police officer was shot in the leg while he was responding to a call of a suspect acting erratically at a park.
“Officers went to approach the subject, they observed him talking on a cell phone … they asked him to get off the phone so they can interview him,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters, via a live feed.
“At that time, he reached into a backpack, pulled out a weapon, and started firing at the officers,” he explained.
The officers returned fire, fatally wounding the suspect, Johnson said.
One of the officers was hit in the thigh, and he applied a tourniquet to himself to stop the bleeding—which was instrumental in saving his life, Johnson added.
It was a non-life-threatening injury and he was taken to a hospital in another officer’s squad car, Johnson said. The unnamed officer is a 17-year veteran of the police force.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited the officer in the hospital, he said.
In a statement, Emanuel said “the thoughts and prayers of Chicago are with our brave police officer who was shot answering a call as he worked to keep our streets safe.”
Johnson took a different tone.
“This is another example of too many guns, too many people willing to use them. But it also illustrates how Chicago police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep the city of Chicago safe,” Johnson said, adding that the shooting “illustrates how dangerous it is for officers.”
He said the Chicago police will continue the policy of pairing up police officers amid the current tensions between police and communities across the United States.
“We just need to stop this madness. These police officers work hard out here. It’s difficult enough to be a police officer,” Johnson said. “People like to second-guess what officers do, but these officers have a split-second to decide to make a decision as to whether or not to use deadly force. Tonight was an illustration.”
The police officers weren’t wearing body cameras, he said.