Chicago police officer shot in Englewood leaves hospital: ‘I will grow stronger, both physically and mentally, from this tragedy’
Officer Fernanda Ballesteros thanked her CPD co-workers and her partner who rushed her to safety Wednesday after she was struck by gunfire while trying to pull over a driver in Englewood.
A Chicago police officer shot last week on the South Side left the University of Chicago Medical Center to the cheers of dozens of supporters Monday morning.
Before she left, Officer Fernanda Ballesteros thanked her CPD co-workers and her partner who rushed her to safety Wednesday after she was struck by gunfire while trying to pull over a driver in Englewood.
“And most importantly, thank you to Officer Young, my partner who had my back and carried me to safety,” she said in a video statement. “I’m forever grateful for his quick thinking and swift response. You were my guardian angel that night.”
Ballesteros, 27, and her partner had tried to stop a car that afternoon but it sped off, then slowed allowing the officers to pull alongside, police said last week. Shots were fired from the car and Ballesteros, a three-year CPD veteran, was hit in her shoulder.
Her partner jumped into the driver’s seat and took her to the hospital, where she was listed in critical-but-stable condition. Police internally identified a suspect last week, but no arrests have been reported.
“This week has shown me and my family the true brotherhood of the Chicago Police Department, and that the brotherhood extends beyond me to caring and protecting my family as well,” Ballesteros said.
“I am choosing to see the light in this dark time. And I will grow stronger, both physically and mentally, from this tragedy.”
Ballesteros encouraged another CPD officer shot on Sunday during a shootout in Englewood.
“To my fellow brother in blue who was recently injured in the line of duty: Don’t ever feel alone because you have a whole line of support from the blue family that wishes you a speedy recovery,” she said.
Police Supt. David Brown lauded Ballesteros during a news conference Monday, adding that officers “risk everything for all of our safety.” He noted that 25 Chicago officers have been targeted by gunfire this year, five of whom have been struck.
“This difficult and very, very dangerous work during this national gun violence epidemic has come at a very, very high price for Chicago police officers and their families,” Brown said, pointing to the three “brazen” attacks in Chicago over the past week that wounded Ballesteros, another Englewood District officer and a U.S. marshal.
Brown called on Congress “to come up with some sensible gun laws in addition to what we have now,” claiming that “any sensible person” supports a ban on assault weapons.
“In the interim, our cops have been putting their lives on the line, and their families have been impacted in ways hard to describe.” Brown said, reflecting on “the look in families’ eyes when they show up to the hospital not knowing whether their loved one is going to survive.”
“‘They’re just doing their job,’ I’ve heard repeatedly from family,” he added. “They’re just doing their job, why would a person want to kill them?”