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1 charged in shooting of Chicago police officers on West Side

CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan announced seven counts of attempted murder against a 19-year-old Monday morning.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown discusses the city’s weekend gun violence during a press conference at CPD headquarters in Bronzeville, Monday morning, Aug. 31, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown discusses the city’s weekend gun violence during a news conference Monday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

A 19-year-old man first hid in the trunk of a car and then “ambushed” Chicago police officers when they tried to remove him from the vehicle on the West Side over the weekend, a Cook County judge said Monday.

That resulted in what Judge John F. Lyke Jr. described as a “gun battle,” during which two officers and Jeffon Williams were shot early Sunday morning.

During a news conference announcing the attempted murder charges against Williams , CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said one of the officers has been released from the hospital while another remains hospitalized.

Authorities expect the wounded officers and Williams to survive.

Jeffon Williams
Chicago Police photo

The shooting happened at 2:33 a.m. Sunday in the 3300 block of West Polk Street after officers pulled over a vehicle that matched a description from an earlier call about a person driving around with a gun, police said.

When the officers approached the vehicle, it was turned off and appeared to have been empty, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

The officers spotted a semi-automatic handgun with an extended clip in front of the gear shift and noticed that the backseat was ajar, which made them believe Williams had crawled into the trunk, Murphy said.

The officers called for backup and demanded Williams to get out of the trunk. Williams, meanwhile, had pushed down the rear seat and scrambled to the front of the vehicle, Murphy said. When Williams refused to come out, the officers shattered a window and opened the door to pull him out, Murphy said.

A struggle between four officers and Williams ensued for about 12 seconds before Williams managed to fire his weapon, striking the two officers, Murphy said. Two more officers arrived by this time and one fired at least four shots at Williams, striking him twice, Murphy said.

Lyke said the allegations against Williams “showed utter disregard for any person, any human being.” The judge ordered the Austin man, who remained hospitalized Monday, held on $10 million cash bail. But because Williams had two pending burglary cases in Skokie and Maywood, Lyke ordered him held without bail for violating conditions of his bond.

Police Supt. David Brown said the injured officers were “wearing body cams” and the shooting was “being reviewed.” Murphy said the other officers on the scene also had body cams. The prosecutor added that all the gunfire can all be accounted on the body cam footage and “there’s no possibility of friendly fire.”

Both injured officers are in their early 20s who have been on the job for about two years.

They are part of the department’s summer mobile patrol unit, a group of 200-plus officers Brown assembled in May to address crime “hot spots” citywide.

One officer was shot twice — once in his arm and another in his side “just missing his heart, but piercing his colon,” Murphy said. Stroger Hospital Dr. Haydn Hollister said that officer was in serious condition. He underwent surgery for lung and abdominal injuries, and was still in hospital care Monday, police and Murphy said.

The other officer suffered a gunshot wound to his left shoulder and was in good condition, Hollister said. He was released from the hospital Sunday.

Williams was shot in his arm and leg and remained in fair condition at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

Williams’ next court date for the attempted murder charges is on Sept. 16.

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