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Shooting death of off-duty CPD officer being investigated as suicide: police

First responders congregate in an alley off the 900 block of South Bell where an off-duty female Chicago police officer was found fatally shot Feb. 2. | Matthew Hendrickson/Sun-Times

Chicago police now say the shooting death of an off-duty female police officer on the Near West Side is being investigated as a suicide.

“Prelim investigation reveals possible self-inflicted gunshot wound,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet Sunday morning. “Detectives have classified this as a death investigation as we investigate the circumstances leading up to the shooting & await confirmation & additional info from the medical examiner.”

Police were offering few other details on the incident, which occurred at 9:33 p.m. Saturday in an alley off the 900 block of South Bell in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood, just west of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

The officer, a 47-year-old who lived on that block, was pronounced dead at 9:55 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy conducted Sunday didn’t rule on the cause and manner of her death, with results pending further studies.

Police initially said a man was in custody in connection with the officer’s death, but hours later, CPD spokesman Tom Ahern said that was no longer accurate.

“The information that police initially gave was based on preliminary information that has turned out to be inaccurate,” Ahern said. “He was not a suspect, he was not in custody, he was interviewed.”

Earlier, a sergeant on scene told reporters the woman’s death stemmed from a “domestic-related incident,” but Ahern said investigators were now unsure of their relationship.

“It’s all under investigation, we’re still trying to determine what she was doing there,” Ahern said.

In the alley Saturday night, a white sheet covered the passenger door of a vehicle that was behind a length of red crime-scene tape strung between two garages.

A woman in a red coat arrived on scene shortly after 11 p.m.

“Why are you here?” she yelled at officers as they tried to block her path to the alley. “No, tell me why you are here.”

The officers appeared to try to comfort the woman before she was led away.

Residents of the block said they heard no gunshots as they came out of their homes to ask officers what happened.

Contributing: Alice Yin, Mitch Dudek and Tom Schuba