An alleged shoplifter shot and seriously wounded a security guard Thursday afternoon at a Home Depot on the South Side then shot a Chicago cop in the shoulder before dying in a shootout nearby with other officers, police said.
The officer was the fourth Chicago cop to be shot in two weeks.
During a news conference outside Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said the officer appeared to be in “good spirits” after suffering a gunshot wound to the shoulder. The wound wasn’t thought to be life-threatening.
The suspect was pronounced dead at a hospital, Brown said. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified him as 18-year-old Travon Chadwell, of Marquette Park.
About 4 p.m., a loss prevention officer at a Home Depot store in the 2400 block of West 46th Street saw Chadwell shoplifting, Brown said. During an ensuing struggle, Chadwell shot the security guard, who was in grave condition.
The guard, who was in his early 50s, was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago fire spokesman Larry Merritt said. In a statement, police said the guard was shot in his head.
When Chadwell fled, officers pursued and one officer was shot, Brown said. The officer, a four-year veteran of the department, was treated at Mount Sinai, police said.
Following that shooting, other officers continued to chase Chadwell, Brown said. Chadwell was then shot and killed during a shootout with police.
At the scene of the shooting, police officers blocked off a residential stretch of 46th Street between Western Avenue and Rockwell Street as residents congregated behind the police tape to catch a glimpse of the investigation and exchange rumors over the sound of helicopters.
Nearby, officers taped off sections of the Home Depot parking lot across Western Avenue and laid down evidence markers near the entrance.
In the last two weeks, three other Chicago cops have been wounded in shootings.
“I get questions all the time about what is the department doing about violence, what are we doing about the shootings, what are we doing about the homicides. What we are doing is risking our lives every day to protect this city,” Brown said.
He noted that law enforcement officers across the country are “under attack,” reflecting on the cop who was shot and killed responding to the recent mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado.
“But here in Chicago ... it’s the idea that cops are putting their lives on the line every day and it seems that these offenders are acting with impunity. ... And yet with hyper-criticism, officers continue to run toward danger,” Brown said.
When the wounded officer was discharged later Thursday, Brown and other members of the police force gathered at the hospital to salute him.
Thursday’s shooting comes after an officer was shot in her hand Saturday during a SWAT standoff in the Austin neighborhood by a man who allegedly wanted to “lure” cops to the area. On March 15, an off-duty officer was ambushed by two gunman while stopped in traffic in the Calumet Heights neighborhood.
And a day before that, an on-duty CPD sergeant was shot while standing in the parking lot of the Gresham District police station, at 7808 S. Halsted St. The bullet grazed his chin, and he was released from a hospital later that day.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot took to Twitter on Thursday to wish the wounded cop a “speedy recovery,” saying it’s “absolutely appalling that he was the fourth officer shot in two weeks.”
“A security guard was also shot and is in grave condition,” Lightfoot said. “This evening’s incident is another sober reminder of the dangers our officers face to keep their fellow Chicagoans safe.”
John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, walked near the scene of the shootings Thursday and lamented what he called an “anti-police” atmosphere that he blamed for encouraging violence toward police.
“I’m sick and damn tired of my officers getting shot, and I know this anti-police sentiment is largely responsible for this careless disregard for life, especially for officers in this city,” Catanzara said.
“I’d like to see this whole damn city and every elected politician in this city and state start standing up for police and letting criminals know there’s going to be some repercussions for bad behavior; maybe that will stop them,” he said.