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Man killed, officer wounded in Aurora shootout

Police investigate after a man was killed and an officer was wounded in an exchange of gunfire March 22 in west suburban Aurora. | Justin Jackson/Sun-Times

A man was killed and an officer was wounded in an exchange of gunfire Thursday night in west suburban Aurora.

About 9:45 p.m., two officers pulled over a vehicle in the first block of Galena Boulevard after they saw it leave a “known gang house” in the 200 block of South Lake Street, according to Aurora police. The officers, members of the Aurora Police Department’s Special Operations unit, were in an unmarked squad car.

The driver of the vehicle, 36-year-old Santiago Calderon of Aurora, fired shots at the officers during the traffic stop before taking off east and crashing into another vehicle at the intersection of Galena Boulevard and Broadway, police said.

Santiago Calderon | Aurora police
Santiago Calderon | Aurora police

After getting out of his vehicle, Calderon was fatally wounded in a shootout with officers on Lasalle Street between Galena Boulevard and Downer Place, police said. A handgun was found by his side when officers tried to offer medical attention.

Calderon, who lived in Aurora, was dead at the scene, according to the Kane County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy Friday found he died of multiple gunshot wounds, and toxicology samples were being sent to a forensic lab for further studies.

One of the officers, Colin Griffin, was shot in his leg and taken to a hospital in Aurora, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said at a news conference Friday morning. His wound wasn’t believed to be life-threatening.

The other officer, Matthew Huber, also suffered an injury to his shoulder during the exchange, but wasn’t wounded by gunfire, police said. He was also taken to an Aurora hospital.

The officers, both 10-year veterans of the department, have since been released from the hospital, Ziman said. They’ve both been placed on paid administrative leave while the Kane County Major Crimes Task Force investigates the shooting.

“I want to express my sympathy to the family of Mr. Calderon,” Ziman said. “Despite his actions which resulted in this outcome, we know he is a father and a son, and that is not lost on us.”

Ziman said the officers took appropriate action after Calderon started shooting.

“When officers are fired upon, we are going to respond for the protection of ourselves and for the other citizens,” she said.

Ziman said police have had previous contact with Calderon, most recently on March 18 when he was arrested for firearm possession. She said he was released out on bond in that case at the time of the shootout.

A 24-year-old Aurora man who was a passenger in the vehicle was taken into custody and brought to the Aurora Police Department for questioning, police said. He has since been released without being charged. It was not immediately clear what his relationship with Calderon was.

The 19-year-old man driving the second vehicle involved in the crash declined medical treatment, police said. He was the only person in his vehicle.

“It’s unfortunate that a criminal decided to carry a gun and fire upon a police officer last night,” Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said at the news conference. “And it’s a shame that there was a loss of life because of that criminal’s actions. Yet, the quick actions and preparedness of our officers prevented this situation from escalating and being much, much worse, ensuring that no innocent bystanders were harmed in any way.”

Officers respond to a shooting Thursday night that left a man dead and an officer wounded in west suburban Aurora. | Justin Jackson/Sun-Times
Officers respond to a shooting Thursday night that left a man dead and an officer wounded in west suburban Aurora. | Justin Jackson/Sun-Times

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