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Chicago Police: 29-year-old man who shot three cops was felon

Chicago Police officers at the scene where three officers were shot on March 14. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times

The 29-year-old man who was killed after shooting three Chicago Police officers Monday night was a felon with a gun conviction in his background, police said Tuesday.

Lamar Harris fired at the officers with an illegal handgun that was recovered at the scene of the West Side shooting, said Anthony Guglielmi, the chief spokesman for the police department.

All three officers survived. Fellow cops with special training to treat bullet wounds in the field rushed to the scene to assist the wounded officers. They were carrying first-aid kits and bandages to give preliminary care to the officers until the Chicago Fire Department arrived, Guglielmi said.

“It helped, I was told,” Guglielmi said of the first aid provided by the officers, who had received Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue Training.

None of the officers had life-threatening injuries.

Harris, who lived in the 400 block of Frederick Avenue in Bellwood, was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:10 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy found he died of multiple gunshot wounds, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Lamar Harris  | Cook County sheriff’s office photo
Chicago Police say Lamar Harris was killed Monday after shooting at and wounding three CPD officers. | Cook County Sheriff’s Office photo

Harris, whose criminal record includes arrests under the aliases Jason Gibson and Lamont Harris, had seven felony convictions and 43 arrests on his rap sheet, Guglielmi said.

Harris was facing charges of methamphetamine delivery and a hearing was scheduled in his case later this month, records show.

In 2012, he was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and resisting police officers and sentenced to four years in prison. He received almost 600 days’ credit for time already served in the Cook County Jail.

Shortly before 10 p.m., four officers were investigating suspected narcotics sales in the 3700 block of South Polk in the Homan Square neighborhood and saw Harris and woman in a “known drug area,” Guglielmi said.

Harris ran into a dark gangway and officers chased him, authorities said.

When they tried to stop him, Harris turned around and opened fire on the officers, striking three of them, police said.

At least one officer returned fire and killed Harris, police said.

Police said they recovered the handgun used to shoot the officers. The woman was interviewed and released, Guglielmi said.

The injured officers were veterans with at least 10 years of experience each, Escalante said late Monday at a news conference at Stroger Hospital, where the officers were being treated. They suffered lower-body injuries, he said.

All three are tactical officers who work in the Harrison District on the West Side.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Interim Police Supt. John Escalante visited the hospital Monday night.

A statement from Chicago Police early Tuesday said the incident is “being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority with the full cooperation of the CPD.”

The officers will be on routine administrative duties for 30 days, under a new policy that Escalante implemented to “ensure separation from field duties while training and fitness for duty requirements can be conducted. Going forward, this will be standard protocol following all officer-involved shootings.”

A 21-year-old man was shot and wounded on the same block in August, records show.

In 2015, there also were reports on the block of a gun arrest, a burglary and an armed robbery.

The last duty-related death of a Chicago Police officer happened on Dec. 29, 2011, when masked men robbed a West Side convenience store and shot Officer Clifton Lewis, an eight-year veteran moonlighting as a security guard.

The department’s Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue training began in 2012 after Officer Del Pearson was shot in the chest. Fellow officers rushed Pearson to a hospital, where he survived despite heavy blood loss.

More than 2,200 police officers and 1,000 firefighters have received the training, Guglielmi said. The officers spend their own money to buy their first-aid kits, he said.

Since 2013, about 70 people — including eight officers — have been rescued by cops and firefighters who have received the training.

Their kits include tourniquets and QuikClot gauze treated with a special substance, both of which are used to stop wounds from bleeding until an ambulance arrives.

On Monday night, one of the trained officers used QuikClot on at least one of the wounded officers, Guglielmi said.

“EMS was there quickly,” he added.

Chicago Police officers at the corner of Polk and Independence near the scene of the shooting of three officers. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times
Chicago Police officers at the corner of Polk and Independence near the scene of the shooting of three officers. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times
Chicago Police officers at the scene of the shootings. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times
Chicago Police officers at the scene of the shootings. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times
Chicago Police at the scene where three officers were shot Monday night. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times
Chicago Police at the scene where three officers were shot Monday night. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times

Contributing: Simone Alicea