By Carlos Sadovi
3:55 PM CST, February 16, 2013
A 23-year-old man was shot by police and a police officer was injured during an investigation of drug sales in the Humboldt Park neighborhood this morning, officials said.
Chicago Fire Department paramedics responded to the 3900 block of West Chicago Avenue at about 11:30 a.m., said Larry Langford, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman.
The wounded man was taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, Langford said.
The incident began when a Chicago police vehicle with four tactical officers pulled up to the 3900 block of West Chicago Avenue to a known drug sales area, said Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Patrick Camden.
According to Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli, the officers observed a "hand-to-hand exchange" of what they believed to be narcotics involving the wounded man and a group of four or five others.
After the police vehicle pulled up to the men, one of the men fled from the area to an adjacent vacant lot with an officer pursuing on foot, Camden and Mirabelli said. At that time, a squad car was called in to assist, Camden said.
As police were closing in on the suspect, the man ran into a parking lot and jumped into a van, locked the door and refused to get out, said Camden and Mirabelli.
The police vehicle was maneuvered to block the van, preventing it from leaving the lot, Mirabelli said, but the suspect was able to move it backward and forward. The suspect began to do that -- "dangerous, erratic behavior" Mirabelli called it -- moving the vehicle in the direction of an officer who was between the van and the front bumper of the squad car blocking the lot.
At that point, the officer jumped on the hood of the van to avoid getting hit as the man continued to drive, Camden said. As the van continued moving, the officer's leg got caught between the van and the grill of the police vehicle, Camden said.
At that point, the officer believed the man was going to keep driving and fired his gun three times into the van, said Camden.
After being struck by gunfire, the man stopped the van and opened the door of the van. Police found a plastic bag with 10 packets of narcotics inside, said Camden.
The suspect was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital after being shot in the upper torso with what Camden called non-life-threatening wounds.
The officer was taken to the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago with injuries to his leg and foot, Camden said. Mirabelli said the injuries to the officer, which he described as cuts and bruises, were not life-threatening.
The shooting is being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority.
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