Defense raises questions about traffic stop that erupted into gunfire in Englewood over weekend, wounding a Chicago police officer

Jerome Halsey, 27, faces charges of attempted murder after allegedly opening fire on officers in the 6900 block of South Sangamon Street on Sunday, police said.

SHARE Defense raises questions about traffic stop that erupted into gunfire in Englewood over weekend, wounding a Chicago police officer
Police investigate after Chicago police officer was wounded in a shooting June 5 in Englewood.

Police investigate after Chicago police officer was wounded in a shooting June 5 in Englewood.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A defense attorney raised questions Tuesday about a traffic stop in an Englewood alley that erupted into gunfire over the weekend, wounding a Chicago police officer less than two miles from where another officer had been wounded days earlier.

The Cook County assistant public defender said many aspects of the police stop on Sunday remained unclear, including whether police activated the emergency lights on their unmarked squad car when pulling over 27-year-old Jermone Halsey, who was also shot during the incident.

The attorney noted that Halsey — who has a Firearm Owners Identification card and a permit to carry a concealed weapon — told police at the hospital afterward that he feared for his safety when the officers boxed him in an alley off the 6900 block of South Sangamon Street and approached.

To Halsey, it was “just an SUV of three people … following him into an alley, getting out of their car with weapons drawn.”

Prosecutors said the officers were in full uniform, and that Halsey began shooting while getting out of the car as an officer was only feet away and approaching.

The officer was hit in the forearm, shoulder and chest and returned fire, prosecutors said. Another officer also fired as Halsey allegedly turned toward him with the gun. Halsey was struck twice in the chest.

Prosecutors said the confrontation was captured by a body-worn police camera, as well as a private surveillance camera.

Prosecutors said the officers had seen Halsey driving erratically before the stop. One of the officers could also tell Halsey’s brake lights weren’t working properly when he looked in the squad car’s side mirror as Halsey’s car drove past on 71st Street shortly before 2 p.m.

The officers made a U-turn and followed Halsey as he occasionally drove “at a high rate of speed” and eventually turned into the dead end alley on Sangamon, prosecutors said. The officers allegedly pulled behind him when he tried to back out.

The officers got out of their car “with their weapons unholstered” because of Halsey’s driving, prosecutors said. A bag containing several extended magazines was found in his car, they said.

Halsey faces charges of attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated battery.

In 2019, he was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after he was found carrying a gun without a valid concealed-carry permit, court records show. He later pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of a weapon.

Prosecutors said Halsey applied to have that gun charge expunged in March.

Prosecutors asked Judge Charles Beach to hold Halsey without bail. Because Halsey was hospitalized and did not attend the hearing, Beach said he would wait to rule on the prosecution petition until Halsey could be present in court.

However, the judge said he believed “there is no way Mr. Halsey mistook these three officers,” and set his bail at $1 million. Beach said Halsey would need to post the full amount to be released, and set his next court date for Monday.

The officer who was shot, Erik Moreno, was supposed to be released from a hospital Tuesday afternoon but felt lightheaded and underwent more tests, according to Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara.

Dozens of officers showed up at the hospital, including Officer Fernanda Ballesteros, who was just released from the hospital on Monday after being shot during a traffic stop in the 6100 block of South Paulina Street.

Police have identified a suspectfrom the shooting last Wednesday but no arrests have been reported.

The next day, a U.S. marshal and his K-9 dog were shot while serving an arrest warrant on the Northwest Side, police said. Tarrion Johnson, 19, was charged with attempted murder and denied bail Saturday.

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