Chicagoans should be outraged by attack on former police chief, Vallas says

“There is no greater son of Chicago than Terry Hillard,” Paul Vallas tells Sneed, calling the stunning paintball assault last week “highly offensive.”

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Former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard and mayoral candidate Paul Vallas

Former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard and mayoral candidate Paul Vallas

Sun-Times file photos


Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas, the man with a government resume a mile long, is weighing in on the assault of former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard, who was mysteriously pummeled by a series of powerful paintballs on Memorial Day.

“This incident could have killed him,” said Vallas, a longtime friend of Hillard, who had taken a short break last Sunday to water his lawn at his Chatham home when the surprise attack knocked him off his feet and sent him sprawling.

The big question? Was it a targeted or a random attack?

Vallas, who is calling Chicago a “city in crisis,” tells Sneed the Hillard incident “is also extraordinarily offensive, whether or not the offenders knew who he was. What an amazing combination of ignorance and lack of respect. 

“It’s a shame that the incident failed to draw more outrage,” he added. “There is no greater son of Chicago than Terry Hillard.”

Indeed, Hillard served the city for decades, including twice as top cop.

Hillard, who has yet to publicly comment about the assault which the police are investigating, issued a written statement via a spokesperson, stating: “He wants everyone to just be vigilant, be aware and be safe.”

A dramatic video of the Memorial Day incident, captured by a home security camera and exclusively obtained by Sneed, shows a man firing several shots from a paintball gun from a passing car, which a source said was a red Kia. Hillard, 78, cries out after getting hit squarely in the chest, and then falls to the ground.

Thankfully, Hillard didn’t end up in a hospital.

“Terry is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who was wounded in action and has faced serious health issues over the years,” said Vallas. “He twice was superintendent of the Chicago Police Department during which time he implemented the community policing-based public safety plan that I had the opportunity to fund as city budget director in the mid-90s,” said Vallas.

“That public safety plan reduced the city’s murder rate in half,” he claimed.

Tom Ahern, a police spokesman, told Sneed on Thursday that there had been a recent rash of paintball incidents in the area. 

Still, the video of the incident is terrifying.

Thank God it wasn’t a bullet. 

A newsman’s farewell…

Paul Zimbrakos. “Zimbo.” A man for all kinds of wonderful reasons. 

The sincerest of condolences to the family of Paul Zimbrakos, a legendary City News Bureau editor who trained generations of journalists — and me. 

Zimbrakos, the mustachioed calm in a den of roaring, crusty, elderly CNB desk lions, was the Greek guy with a reassuring smile dispatching battalions of young, wet-behind-the-ears newsies out on Chicago’s tough streets at the dawn of my news career. 

He was unforgettable, a forever editor and a lovely, lovely man. 

So it was a surprise to learn Zimbo, who died at the age of 86, was only eight years older than I upon joining City News Bureau in the late 1960s — an office already populated by ace reporters Anne Keegan, Len Aronson, Bill Curry and Pam Zekman. 

What a time it was. 

It’s a book.

Somehow, I think Paul would have wanted his obit to end with the way we reporters once ended all our typed news stories in those days.

It was a double digit number. I no longer remember the reason behind its use.

It was simply ...


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for a service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on June 3, the second of four days of celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee.


The Queen’s way …

Gosh! Was Kim smokin’ posies??? 

Kim Kardashian may think she owns the world one commercial body commodity at a time, but the Brit blather press report the product princess’ request to attend the queen’s Platinum Jubilee with beau, former SNL star Pete Davidson, was NIXED! . … Not kissin’ cousins … yet! Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, in lily white Friday during her first return trip to a regal event in England since the couple split with the Royal family in a gloom, has yet to be spotted having a warm encounter with Prince William’s wife Kate, who was dressed in buttercup yellow. The big question: Will they defrost the frosty relationship they left for California? And who really made whom cry? Stay tuned.

Sneedlings …

The rocket man: Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, now the U.S. ambassador to Japan, was in attendance at the San Tropez wedding last weekend of his brother, uber-Hollywood agent Ari, to fashion designer Sarah Staudinger. The wedding was officiated by legendary TV funnyman Larry David. Rahm’s trip was prefaced by a summit meeting in Japan between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. This guy is a travelin’ man. Saturday’s birthdays: actress Angelina Jolie, 47, and singer Russell Brand, 47; Sunday’s birthdays: actor Mark Wahlberg, 51; singer Brian McKnight, 53, and musician Kenny G, 76. And a belated to former state senator and Republican legend Kirk Dillard on his 67th birthday.

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