Chicago police investigate the scene where two police officers were shot in the 4300 block of South Ashland Avenue Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in Chicago.
Photo credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS
CHICAGO — Chicago police were questioning three people and were searching for others after two plainclothes officers were wounded Tuesday night in the Back of the Yards neighborhood when gunmen began firing “indiscriminately” at them, authorities said.
Both Deering District officers were shot by a “high-powered weapon,” police said. One officer was hit in the arm and hip, the other in the back.
They were taken to Stroger Hospital, where they were in serious condition but stable. Officials said their injuries were not life-threatening.
The officers were sitting in an unmarked car in the 4300 block of South Ashland Avenue around 9 p.m., following up an earlier investigation, when they saw someone in a silver van shooting at another vehicle, according to preliminary information from police.
“The occupants began firing shots indiscriminately in the direction of the officers,” the Police Department said in a statement. “The officers returned fire.” It is not believed they hit anyone.
Both vehicles sped off. The van was found near 37th Street and Racine Avenue, less than two miles away, and either a rifle or shotgun was recovered near the scene, according to a source citing preliminary information.
A second weapon was also recovered, and three people were taken into custody, police said.
“It’s just another example of how dangerous this job is,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said outside Stroger. “And I think people take it for granted that when police officers come to work every day, they put their lives on the line every single day they get in their car.
“Listen, if they will fire at police officers like that, they have no thought process in terms of firing at other citizens of this great city,” Johnson added. “So we are going to get them.”
As he spoke, officers streamed in and out of the emergency entrance. Two officers arrived with a box of coffee and a large bag.
Four women briefly emerged and hugged each other. A few of the officers stopped to talk to the women before they went back into the hospital.
At the scene of the shooting, at least 11 evidence markers were placed on 43rd Street just north of a strip mall in the industrial area.
Thomas Murdock, 51, stood in a small crowd watching investigators work. He was in a Dunkin’ Donuts when he heard gunfire and saw paramedics tending to two officers, one of them on a stretcher.
“It was like whack, whack, whack. Big guns. Next thing I know, I find out police got shot,” Murdock said. “The Dunkin’ Donuts lady was like, ‘What the (expletive) are they shooting for?’ My mind was like, ‘Holy s—- ! I hope they don’t run in.’ “
Minutes later, a procession of police vehicles raced north.
In February, the Chicago Tribune reported that rifles were being increasingly used by gangs in Back of the Yards.
At the time, more than 30 shootings believed to have been tied to semi-automatic rifles occurred there and in neighboring Brighton Park over nine months. At least 46 people were shot in those attacks, 13 fatally.
Police said this was the only area of the city where rifles styled after AR-15s and AK-47s were regularly used, a menacing new development in the gang fights.
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SOURCE AND CREDITS : CHICAGO TRIBUNE