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3 cops wounded after prisoner — a paroled felon — opens fire at Chicago police station

It’s unclear how the prisoner had a gun because he should have been searched before being placed inside a police vehicle. Sources say the 25-year-old man was paroled just three months ago on a gun conviction.

Chicago Police investigate at the 25th District station, 5555 W. Grand Ave., on the Northwest Side, after multiple officers were shot outside the station Thursday morning. The suspect was also shot multiple times in the incident.
Chicago Police investigate at the 25th District station, 5555 W. Grand Ave., on the Northwest Side, after multiple officers were shot outside the station Thursday morning. The suspect was also shot multiple times in the incident.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

A carjacking suspect being transported in a police vehicle to the 25th District police station at Grand and Central opened fire Thursday morning in the station’s prisoner loading bay, wounding three officers, one seriously, sources said.

The prisoner, in turn, was shot multiple times at the police station, 5555 W. Grand Ave., sources said.

One officer was in serious condition after being shot in the chin. He was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, CPD Supt. David Brown told reporters outside that hospital.

Two officers suffered less serious wounds. One was shot in his protective vest, but the bullet didn’t penetrate; the other officer was wounded in the hip. They were taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Brown said. Two other officers were taken to that hospital for chest pains, Brown added.

The prisoner’s condition was unknown; he was taken to Stroger Hospital.

It’s unclear how the prisoner had a gun because he should have been searched before he was placed in the police vehicle. That question is certain to be a focus of the ongoing investigation.

The prisoner began shooting in the station’s sally port, a secure interior area where prisoners are moved from police vehicles into the station, according to a police source.

The prisoner may have managed to move his handcuffs from behind his back to his front before he started shooting, a source said.

Police sources said the shooter is a 25-year-old felon paroled just three months ago. He’s been sentenced to prison four times, according to court records. He’s been convicted of illegal gun possession by a felon and aggravated assault with a vehicle. He also has two felony drug convictions.

Brown said the shooting happened about 9:40 a.m. Police had taken the shooter into custody after identifying a vehicle wanted in connection with a June 26 carjacking downtown. They pulled the car over and made the arrest, Brown said.

The officer who was reported to be in serious condition is a 17-year CPD veteran currently assigned to the 25th District.

“I ask everyone in our city to join me in praying for the Chicago police officers shot and injured this morning in the line of duty,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted Thursday.

“Today is a searing reminder of the danger our men and women of our police department face every day they put on their uniforms and leave their homes. This is the sacrifice they make in order to serve and protect our city and fellow residents.”

Within an hour of the shooting, about two dozen CPD squad cars were parked along Grand Avenue, which was closed to other traffic.

Officers congregated near the shooting scene, taped off behind the police station.

Evidence technicians placed dozens of orange evidence markers around two Chicago police SUVs parked behind the station, situated between an industrial corridor and a Hanson Park ball field across the street.

A Belmont Cragin resident said she was walking her dog on the north end of the park across the street when she heard dozens of gunshots.

“It sounded like fireworks, but then I realized it must be a bunch of guns,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

Police vehicles periodically pulled up and left the station as dozens of officers milled about the scene, including some from the Cook County sheriff’s office.

Onlookers gawked from across the street for a few hours after the shooting. One perplexed man made phone calls trying to figure out if his court hearing, scheduled for Thursday morning at the misdemeanor court branch within the station, was still on.

“It’s pretty chaotic. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” said the man, who didn’t want to share his name.

Luis Coss heard gunfire erupt as he was passing the station while riding his bicycle east on Grand on his way to Humboldt Park.

“It was all a commotion, cops racing outside. I was scared. I turned around,” Coss said, watching police investigators at work a few hours after the chaos.

“I ride through here most days to avoid the traffic. It’s scary to see,” he said.

Another resident also had listened as the incident unfolded.

“I heard the gunshots go off and I thought to myself it’s way too early for the gangs to be shooting at each other,” said the man, who did not want to provide his name.

“Then I could hear the police sirens racing down the street, then the ambulance.”

He soon went outside to see what was happening.

“This is not the safest neighborhood in the city,” he said, “but a police officer getting shot in the morning like this is not normal.”