A Chicago plainclothes officer was shot in his bullet-proof vest and a 25-year-old woman was critically wounded when shots were exchanged at a drug corner in the West Garfield Park neighborhood Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The officer, with the Harrison District tactical team, was taken to Loyola University medical center where he was expected to be released later in the evening. Officials credited the vest with saving his life.
The woman was shot several times and was in critical condition at Stroger Hospital, police said. A handgun was confiscated at the scene, officials said.
The shooting comes a little more than a week after two other plainclothes officers were shot May 2 with a military-style rifle in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Both officers were released from the hospital the next day.
Initial investigation of the latest shooting appears to show the woman was shot after firing on officers, according to Mia Sissac, a spokeswoman for the Independent Police Review Authority. The shooting took place around 2:25 p.m. in the 4600 block of West Maypole Avenue, police said.
The officers were in an unmarked SUV and saw what appeared to be a drug transaction, according to a police news release and Sissac.
The officers turned the SUV around, got out and went toward the woman, Sissac said. A man who appeared to have been making an exchange with the woman ran off, and the woman turned around and opened fire on the officers, she said.
The woman “fired shots” at the officers, hitting one officer in the upper chest, which was protected by his bullet-proof vest, according to a police news release.
The officers returned fire, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference outside Loyola medical center.
“This vest absolutely saved this officer’s life,” he said.
The other officer was treated at Loyola for anxiety. He also was expected to be treated and released, Johnson said.
An arrest warrant had been issued for the woman on Thursday after she apparently failed to show up in court on a charge of aggravated assault of a police officer from February.
The woman had been arrested around 2:10 p.m. on Feb. 11 at an apartment in the 5700 block of South May Street in the Englewood neighborhood after the officer suffered minor injuries, according to police records. She was released on a personal recognizance bond the next day, records show.
The woman previously served two years probation in a heroin possession case from 2014.
Neighbors said they saw the woman lying on the ground after hearing as many as 10 shots fired rapidly.
Charles Hannon, who lives on the block, said he was on his way home when a blue unmarked police car stopped in the middle of the street to talk to someone walking east on Maypole Avenue. As an officer opened his door, the person started running and shots were fired, he said.
“All of a sudden they were jumping out of the car,” Hannon said. “It wasn’t even six or seven seconds and they were shooting.”
Erwin Henry, 39, said he was visiting his friend from church when he heard shots and hid behind a tree. When he looked around, he saw an officer on the ground as another officer chased someone, he said.
“I grew up in this neighborhood. I was just hanging out, talking with one of the older guys that I go to church with sometimes. He was watching his vehicle,” Henry said. “At the same time we hear gunshots.
“Of course we try to get cover because it was close,” he said. “At that time, I ran to get a better look because I noticed it was officers we had just saw come through the neighborhood. I took cover behind a tree and I just saw the officer running in pursuit.”
At Loyola, the doctor who treated the officer who was shot said her husband is a Chicago police officer.
“The shot … could have been fatal,” said Dr. Kristen Donaldson. “Today we have seen gun violence in Chicago hit home, not only as a physician but as the wife of a Chicago police officer.
“I dread the day – and I don’t ever want to receive the phone call this officer’s family got today,” she said. “Thank God it was a good call, and he’ll be going home to his family.”