‘It was chaotic’: SWAT officer who shot Mercy Hospital gunman from 70 yards

SHARE ‘It was chaotic’: SWAT officer who shot Mercy Hospital gunman from 70 yards
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Chicago Police Lt. Jacob Alderden, from left, and Officers Bernardo Quijano and Elvis Turcinovic receive awards for for bravery for responding to the Mercy Hospital shooting. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Lying on his belly, at a distance of about 70 yards, a Chicago Police SWAT team member fired his rifle and ended the mass shooting at Mercy Hospital that shocked the city in November.

On Tuesday, Officer Elvis Turcinovic was honored for his bravery alongside several other officers who rushed toward the gunfire that day.

“It was chaotic inside,” Turcinovic said. “You arrive to the situation without a plan and you try to create a plan. . . . I don’t really know how to explain it, you just improvise on the go.”

“As a police officer and a human being, it just feels good to be able to help somebody, especially somebody vulnerable, like on that day,” said Turcinovic, a 13-year police veteran.

Turcinovic shot the gunman from a prone position from about 70 yards down a hallway, according to a police source.

Officer Bernardo Quijano was trying to pull a wounded doctor to safety behind a squad car when he felt “two punches” hit his right hip — bullets that went through his holster and lodged in his gun. He was uninjured.

“We did the best we could that day, regardless of the outcome,” Quijano said.

Slain in the shooting were Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez, emergency room doctor Tamara O’Neal and pharmacy technician Dayna Less.

“Officer Jimenez is a true hero, not because he lost his life, but because with 18 months on the job, he did exactly what he was trained to do without any hesitation at all,” said Lt. Jacob Alderden, who rushed into the hospital with Jimenez.

Quijano, Alderden and Turcinovic were honored with an award Tuesday by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation during a ceremony at the Chicago Patrolman’s Federal Credit Union.

The Mercy Hospital gunman, Juan Lopez, fatally shot O’Neal, his ex-fiancée, outside the hospital before retreating inside, where he continued shooting.

After he was wounded by Turcinovic, Lopez fatally shot himself.

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