A 72-year-old retired Chicago deputy police chief was wounded early Wednesday morning when he was targeted by an alleged robber as he was leaving Eckersall Park in the South Chicago neighborhood.
Former Deputy Chief Fred Coffey returned fire, wounding the suspect. Coffey was hit in the arm.
Police said the 21-year-old suspect was wounded in his lower body. The suspect, who wasn’t identified, was arrested shortly after the shooting. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where his condition had stabilized, police said.
Coffey was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized, police said. His son, who also is named Fred, said his father was resting Wednesday evening after he left the hospital. He said it was not clear whether his dad would make a full recovery.
“It’s difficult to tell if there’s nerve damage or not,” he said.
“He’s been walking [at the park] for years,” Coffey’s son said Wednesday evening. The elder Coffey, who retired 10 years ago, had never been shot during his years on the CPD, his son said.
The younger Coffey said he didn’t know if his father made a habit of carrying a gun when he went on his walks.
“All I know is, he was able to defend himself today,” he said. “It’s been a traumatic day.”
In a statement issued Wednesday, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson offered few details about the shooting.
“Gun offenders in Chicago do not discriminate,” Johnson said in a statement.
“Their reckless conduct and lack of respect puts families, public servants and anything that stands in their way at risk. Enough is Enough,” Johnson said.
“Retired Deputy Chief Coffey was a great police officer and public servant to the people of Chicago and I am glad he is okay. I will continue to fight hard for better laws to keep repeat offenders behind bars and I’m asking Chicago to help by giving CPD the tools to keep our community safe,” the statement said.
Contributing: Associated Press, Jordan Owen