A Chicago police officer working a detail dedicated to addressing youth violence was shot and killed when a man grabbed the officer's gun and shot him outside a police building in the Englewood neighborhood.
The officer was leaving the facility at 61st Street and Racine Avenue about 3:45 p.m. and was walking to a parking lot when he got into a struggle with a 24-year-old man who disarmed the officer and shot him, Assistant Supt. James Jackson said.
The man then tried to rob someone at gunpoint a short distance away, Jackson said. Officers from the facility heard shots and exchanged gunfire with the suspect and shot him, Jackson said.
Preliminary reports say the officer was shot in the head.
The suspect was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where a group of uniformed and plainclothes officers stood outside the entrance of the emergency room this evening.
Calvin Jefferson, 28, said the suspect is his brother and was in critical but stable condition after being shot in the chest. "I'm still shocked," said Jefferson, adding that his brother has always been a bit of a loner who is secretive and didn't talk much to others.
The slain officer was 43 and an 11-year veteran, according to Jackson. Friends said he was married but had no children. Police were not releasing his name because some relatives had not been notified yet.
The officer was typically an instructor at the training academy, but was operating out of 61st and Racine as part of Operation Protect Youth.
"If your son or daughter came on the job, he's the guy you'd want to train them," said Assistant Deputy Supt. Matthew Tobias, who used to run the academy. "He understood what the oath meant. He understood what a priviledge it was to wear the uniform of a Chicago police officer."
The shooting left those who knew the officer stunned by the sudden loss.
"I want people to know that he's a great man and gave the Chicago Police a great name," said Mazen Istanbouli, a DePaul professor and close friend of the officer. "He was a giver, he never thought of himself and always thought of others."
Istanbouli, who is blind, said the officer helped him train and competed by his side in triathlons.
Istanbouli said the two had known each other for about three years. Istanbouli said the officer accompanied him to the New York City and Chicago triathalons, running and biking and swimming alongside him and serving as his guide.
The two most recently ran together at a run for fallen police officers in Chicago this spring. Just today, Istanbouli said, he brought up the officer's name because he wanted the officer to accompany him at an upcoming bicycle race.
Istanbouli recalled the officer's humility, particularly after they ran a race and Istanbouli tried to thank him: "He said, 'I'm doing this for you not for me, I don't need the medal, I'm doing it for you.' He helped me out with training and he helped me out throughout the process with swimming and running and biking, the whole thing we did everything."
He said his friend is always in his mind when he hears about police tragedies because "police officers' lives are always out there. It's just shocking."
Police officers and family gathered outside the slain officer's home on the South Side this evening. Police guarding the door to the family's home said relatives would have no comment.
The officer's body was taken to the Cook County medical examiner's office, where an autopsy is scheduled Thursday. An office spokesman would not provide any other details of the officer.
Around 8:30 p.m., officers held blue and white umbrellas over the slain officer's family as they pulled up to their home and walked through the rain to their front door.
Cheri Ricardo, 41, said she lives across the street from the police building and heard about 10 gunshots, but didn't think too much about it because the neighborhood has been growing more violent despite the police presence.
Ricardo, who has six children, said there are a lot of kids in the neighborhood. She has lived across from the police building for about two years, and she said the police building, along with another police facility, hasn't helped reduce violence.
"This neighborhood is exactly what it is, it's wild," said Ricardo. "That police station in my opinion did not stop any immediate crime in this neighborhood. ... It's not doing any good."
She said gang members in the area are "bad and bold, they do not care and have no respect or anything. They still shoot up and down the street when they want to."
The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates shootings involving Chicago police officers, were gathering evidence on the scene this evening, said IPRA spokesman Mark Smith.
Police said the suspect has an extensive criminal history. Cook County court records show he has been arrested more than a dozen times over the years, mainly for possession of cannabis.
Most of those cases were dismissed, except for a 2006 case when he pleaded guilty to possession and received two years probation. In May of 2009, he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and received one year of conditional discharge, which he completed satisfactorily on May 21.