A University of Chicago police officer shot and seriously wounded a 21-year-old student who charged an officer with a metal pipe near the South Side campus late Tuesday, authorities said.
The student, identified as Charles Thomas, is facing criminal charges in connection with the shooting, including felony aggravated assault of a peace officer and two counts of felony criminal damage to property, according to Chicago police.
Thomas is also facing two misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property.
Body camera footage showing the shooting, which happened off campus just before 10:15 p.m. in the Hyde Park neighborhood, was released by the school on Wednesday night.
Three U. of C. police officers responding to a call of a burglary in the 5300 block of South Kimbark Avenue encountered a man — later identified as Thomas — breaking car and apartment windows with a long metal pipe, university officials said in an email to students.
Thomas lives on the block of the shooting, according to police.
The officers ordered the student to drop the pipe, but he refused and charged at the officer in an alley, university President Robert Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier said in the email.
One of the officers fired his weapon, hitting the student in the shoulder, according to the university. The student was initially taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition, authorities said.
The video shows, at one point before the shooting, the officer stepping back. The officer was executing a “tactical retreat,” a practice he learned during crisis intervention training, the university said. The approach is intended to create a safe distance for the officer to call out commands rather than immediately subdue the subject.
The university also confirmed the officer, who has been on the force for two years, fired once, which is consistent with his training to shoot to end the threat. The officer involved has had 40 hours of crisis intervention training and eight hours of mental health first aid training.
In the video, an officer can be heard saying, “Twenty-one, mental. He’s a mental.”
The university was not commenting on the mental state of the student who was shot.
The area where the shooting happened is patrolled by both U. of C. and Chicago police officers.
After learning the injured man was a student, U. of C. police contacted his parents, the university said. It is the first shooting involving a U. of C. police officer in the agency’s 40-year history, said university spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus.
“This is a difficult incident for our community, and our concern is with all of the individuals involved and their families,” Zimmer and Diermeier said in the email issued by the university. “Maintaining our community’s safety, security and well-being is of paramount importance. Support services and resources for students will be provided by the college and Campus and Student Life.”
The officer involved was placed on mandatory administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, in accordance with department policy.
Chicago police are investigating the incident, said Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department. CPD is in charge of investigating campus police shootings.
The University Department of Safety and Security, which oversees the campus police department, is also reviewing the shooting, according to the university.
With a force of about 100 officers, the U. of C. police serve as the primary law enforcement agency on campus and, beyond the university’s borders, offer backup patrol to Chicago police in an area bounded by 37th Street, 64th Street, Lake Shore Drive and Cottage Grove Avenue, according to the university. That off-campus patrol agreement was cemented in city ordinance back in 2011, city records show.
State law grants campus police officers on private universities the same arrest powers as city and state law enforcement officers. Campus police officers are required to complete mandatory state training, including firearms training.
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