Chicago, IL – A Chicago police officer and a 15-year-old bystander were wounded by gunfire during a shootout between a bank robbery suspect and police on Tuesday night.
The incident began at approximately 4:30 p.m. in Des Plaines, when local police were called to a report of a bank robbery, WMAQ reported.
They later learned that a bank teller had tossed a tracker into one of the bags of cash, Des Plaines Police Chief William Kushner said during a press conference, according to the Chicago Tribune.
One of the alleged robbers was apprehended at the scene, but the second suspect managed to escape, WMAQ reported.
Police said he later carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint and fled to Chicago, according to WLS.
Des Plaines police teamed up with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and investigators were able to locate the alleged bank robber traveling along the Kennedy Expressway shortly before 7 p.m., WMAQ reported.
They positioned themselves at the Irving Park Road exit to intercept him, but the suspect recognized he was about to be apprehended and opened fire on the law enforcement vehicles.
One CPD officer was hit in the temple of his head by one of the suspect’s bullets.
The round penetrated and exited the 46-year-old officer’s skull, CPD spokesperson Anthony Gugliemi said, according to WMAQ.
The highly decorated, 17-year veteran-of-the-force was rushed to Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital in serious but stable condition, WMAQ reported.
Officers pursued the armed suspect as he exited the expressway and drove down Irving Park Road.
"A lot of people started running away, just fearing for their life," witness Bryan Lewis told WLS.
Bystanders said that the officers rammed the suspect’s vehicle at one point, bringing it to a stop near a music store.
“He hops out of the car and starts shooting immediately,” Lewis said of the suspect.
“The offender and the Des Plaines police officer then exchanged gunfire,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters, according to WMAQ. “The 32-year-old offender was fatally shot in the exchange.”
A 15-year-old boy was in the middle of a piano lesson inside the store when the gunfire erupted.
He was struck in the abdomen and the arm, and was rushed to Comer Children’s Hospital in stable condition, police said.
Superintendent Johnson said the incident was “very tumultuous,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“I want to offer my heartfelt concern for all those involved, and I pray for a speedy recovery for our officer and the 15-year-old,” he said.
“My wife and I are asking all Chicagoans to come together and pray for the officer who was shot this evening, as well as the young individual who was also shot in the crossfire,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, according to WMAQ.
Dr. Marius Katilus said that the next 24 hours will be “pivotal in the care” of the wounded CPD officer, WMAQ reported.
“He does have a skull fracture. He does have blood on the brain,” Katilus said on Tuesday night. “I would say he’s currently in serious but stable condition.”
The officer’s condition had not changed as of Wednesday morning, Gugliemi told the Chicago Tribune.
He is expected to remain in the intensive care unit for another 24-48 hours, he said.
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Kevin Graham said he was able to speak with the wounded officer and members of his family at the hospital, WGN reported.
“Once again, we see another heroic officer who is not afraid to go into danger,” Graham said. “He knew there was shots fired. He knew he was going in to try and protect the people of Chicago and save lives, and once again, they did an outstanding job."
The Des Plaines Police Department (DPPD) and the CPD are handing the investigation into the shootout and the carjacking, and the FBI is handling the investigation into the bank robbery, WMAQ reported.