An off-duty Chicago police officer shot and wounded a gunman after witnessing a shootout that left a bystander injured, authorities said.
The officer saw the exchange of gunfire near the intersection of West Jackson Boulevard and South Leavitt Street around 10:15 p.m., according to Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police. Investigators would later learn one of the bullets struck a man who happened to be nearby.
Four of the people involved in the shootout then jumped into a vehicle, and the off-duty officer began to follow it south on Leavitt, Camden said. Three blocks later, the suspects' vehicle became stopped in traffic at the intersection of South Oakley Street and West Van Buren Boulevard, where an Illinois State Police trooper was conducting a traffic stop, Camden said.
The Chicago police officer approached the vehicle and announced his office, Camden said.
"Two in the back seat are armed," Camden said, retelling the story hours later as he stood steps from where the car had been stopped in the Near West Side neighborhood. "One of the offenders in the back seat raises a .45 [caliber handgun] at the officer."
The officer opened fire, striking one of the occupants, Camden said. The vehicle sped away and the state trooper followed, Camden said.
Several blocks west, the vehicle pulled over in the 300 block of South Maplewood Avenue and three occupants fled on foot, Camden said. The remaining occupant, who had been shot in the neck, was found nearby and was taken to a hospital.
Police said the man was in serious condition and the bystander shot near Jackson and Leavitt was in good condition. Authorities have not released the ages of either person.
Officers found a .45-caliber handgun in the vehicle on Maplewood and were searching for the remaining occupants into Monday morning.
As officers continued to direct traffic around the three crime scenes, Camden praised the officer for taking action after seeing the gunfight while off-duty. "It shows Chicago police officers are working all the time," he said.
The police-involved shooting was the second of the day. Early Sunday morning, a man was shot by police after he allegedly pointed a shotgun toward officers through a window of his vehicle.Copyright © 2015, RedEye