Off-duty Chicago police officer shot during robbery attempt

AP News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2016 5:03 PM
Off-duty Chicago police officer shot during robbery attempt

CHICAGO (AP) — An off-duty Chicago police officer was shot in the leg during an attempted robbery, less than two days after another off-duty officer suffered a broken arm when a man attacked him with a baseball bat, police said Monday.

Detectives were questioning a person of interest who showed up at a hospital apparently wounded from being shot, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. The officer who was shot had finished his shift and was sitting in his car around 2:20 a.m. Monday near his home on the city's far South Side. Police said two men with handguns approached each side of the vehicle and told the officer they were going to rob him.

Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante said the men forced the officer out of his car. Escalante said the officer was "trying to comply with the demands" of the gunmen when he heard one of the men tell the other to shoot him. The officer pulled out his service weapon, identified himself as a police officer and exchanged gunfire with at least one of the men.

Guglielmi said detectives do not believe the men knew that they were about to rob a police officer when they approached his car, but that it was unclear if they knew he was an officer when one told the other to shoot him.

Escalante, who spoke at a news briefing outside the hospital where the officer was taken after being shot, said the officer told detectives that he thinks he shot one of the robbers. The person of interest was being treated at the hospital, Guglielmi said. No charges have been filed in the officer's shooting.

On Saturday night, a 37-year-old officer was walking on Chicago's West Side when he spotted someone he described as an "aggressive male subject" holding his waistband. Police said the officer identified himself as a police officer and started to pat the person down for a weapon — something he had the legal right to do whether he was on or off duty. They said a man then charged the officer with a baseball bat.

The officer told investigators he shot the man after being struck with the bat multiple times. Police said no weapon was recovered.

Guglielmi said the officer suffered multiple injuries, with the most serious being a broken arm.

The man with the bat was shot in the abdomen and underwent surgery at a hospital, police said. On Monday, Anthony Castaneda, 32, of Chicago was charged with aggravated battery on a police officer and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, both felonies.

Castaneda was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon, but it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney. A 17-year-old male was charged with misdemeanor assault and marijuana possession.

The incidents Monday and Saturday followed a shooting March 14 in which three officers were injured in an exchange of gunfire that killed the suspect they were pursuing.

As a result of a policy change that Escalante put in place in December, all the officers have been assigned to desk duty for 30 days because shots were fired in the incidents. The officers' names have not been released.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incidents.