Man paralyzed in 2018 shooting charged in shooting of suburban police officer

Prosecutors said Darreon Thompson passed a handgun to someone who fired at the officer and “a good Samaritan,” both of whom were wounded.

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A man who was previously paralyzed in a shooting was allegedly behind the wheel when gunmen opened fire on an off-duty suburban police officer driving to work over the weekend, leading to a crash and a shootout that left the officer and a bystander wounded.

Darreon Thompson, 24, of Hyde Park, was charged Monday with attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon in the chaotic pursuit that ended in the 2300 block of East 103rd Street, officials said.

The Merrionette Park police officer was driving her Kia SUV around 5 p.m. Saturday when she tried to pass Thompson’s Chevrolet Impala and he swerved to stop her, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord Rodgers said at his initial court hearing later Monday. He was also cited for driving without a license, blowing a red light and failing to stay in his lane.

The high-speed game of cat-and-mouse continued east on 103rd Street until they passed Corliss High School and Thompson’s two passengers began shooting from his car, McCord Rodgers said. The guns were apparently “automatic weapons,” and one of them had a “drum” magazine.

At least one of the gunshots pierced the windshield of the officer’s car, which was equipped with a dashboard camera that captured the entire incident, McCord Rodgers said.

Thompson sped off and the officer gave chase, McCord Rodgers said. Wearing her full police uniform under a jacket, the officer called 911 but couldn’t get through.

As the two cars barreled through red lights in the residential area near the South Chicago police district, 2255 E. 103rd St., Thompson crashed into a Ford Fusion, McCord Rodgers said. The Fusion “was struck so hard it spun around,” and Thompson’s Impala careened into a fence.

One of the shooters climbed out of the Impala through a window and grabbed a gun from Thompson, McCord Rodgers said. The other exited through a rear door.

The officer had stopped in the middle of the street and called out loudly that she was a police officer before the two gunmen started firing at her again, McCord Rodgers said. Meanwhile, “a good Samaritan” left a nearby home and stood behind the officer and her vehicle as she returned fire.

The officer was shot in the neck and the bystander was struck in his left leg, McCord Rodgers said. Both were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where the officer was released with a bullet fragment lodged in her neck and the man was implanted with a steel rod to repair a shattered tibia.

Thompson crawled out of the passenger side of the Impala and collapsed on the sidewalk, where he was taken into custody, McCord Rodgers said. Thompson, in a conversation captured on a police body-worn camera, admitted to responding officers that he was driving the Impala, according to an arrest report that noted he was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital for treatment.

A 9mm handgun was found in the Impala, McCord Rodgers said. Forty-three shell casings were found at the two crime scenes, and most of the casings found at the scene of the shootout were recovered in or around the Impala.

The officer involved in the shooting previously worked as a Chicago cop. The Chicago Police Board voted to fire her in May 2015, finding that she had falsified police documents, including a parking ticket issued to a vehicle owned by former Internal Affairs Chief Juan Rivera.

Thompson was paralyzed in a shooting in 2018, McCord Rodgers said, and he was on probation after pleading guilty last December to a felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He had previously been found not guilty of 15 gun charges in 2018, court records show.

McCord Rodgers urged Judge Maryam Ahmad to hold Thompson in custody for his role in the shooting and for violating the conditions of his two-year probation.

Thompson’s public defender, Gabrielle Christian, described him as a lifelong Chicago resident who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy. He currently rents an apartment where he lives with his cousin and 5-year-old daughter, Christian said.

She claimed it isn’t clear he’s guilty of the allegations lodged against him, insisting he would adhere to the conditions of his release on bond — despite the new probation violation.

But in a scathing judgment, Ahmad called Thompson “a real and very present danger to the community” as she ordered him held without bail in both cases.

His next court date, for violating his probation, was set for Nov. 19.

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