McCarthy hails cops who saved baby — but says 'Chicago’s gotta wake up'

SHARE McCarthy hails cops who saved baby — but says 'Chicago’s gotta wake up'

Chicago Police Officers John Conneely (left) and Michael Modzelewski discuss their decision to drive a wounded baby to the hospital. | Becky Schlikerman/Sun-Times

When Patrol Officers Michael Modzelewski and John Conneely pulled up at the scene of the Back of the Yards shooting, a woman ran over clutching a bleeding baby and begging for help.

No ambulances were on the scene.

So the two Deering District officers broke the rules.

Modzelewski cradled 11-month-old Princeton Chew in the back seat of their squad car, and his partner took the wheel.

RELATED: Neighbors ‘traumatized’ on block where pregnant mom, grandma killed

The child screamed and cried as Conneely sped to Stroger Hospital, using one hand to steer and another to talk with dispatchers.

“It was chaotic,” Conneely, a 17-year veteran of the force, said Tuesday.

“You don’t really take the policies into account, you take the attempt to saving the life into account,” Modzelewski, a 10-year veteran, said Tuesday at police headquarters.

A day after the mass shooting, nobody was too upset about the breach of protocol.

Supt. Garry McCarthy said the two quick-thinking officers “probably saved the life” of little Princeton.

McCarthy appeared with the two street cops at a news conference after a violent night in Chicago.

Though Princeton survived the shooting at 5300 S. Aberdeen, his pregnant mother and grandmother did not. The family was coming home from an outing. Two other men were also wounded in the shooting.

In a separate incident, three others were killed in the same police district at a memorial in Fuller Park.

Both crimes are being investigated as gang turf conflicts, McCarthy said.

And in South Shore, a 2-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet early Tuesday and police believe an illegal gun was accidentally discharged by two teens, McCarthy said.

The top cop was visibly outraged by the burst of gun violence.

“Families are literally being torn apart because it’s too easy to obtain an illegal firearm in the city of Chicago,” he said.

And he pointed to curious behavior from Chicago criminals, who tend to hold on to their guns during police chases because “the sanction from the gang for losing a gun is greater than the sanction for getting caught by police and getting put through the criminal justice system.”

“Chicago’s gotta wake up,” McCarthy said. “We have to stop saying it’s OK to have 30, 40, 50 people shot over a weekend.”

Meanwhile, the two hero cops planned to visit little Princeton. And they took the opportunity to praise their fellow officers.

“I’m just glad [our actions] had a positive outcome,” Conneely said. ‘This is just a very small sliver of something police officers do all over the country that never gets any type of recognition. Stories like this happen all the time.”

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