Reporting Bernie Tafoya
UPDATED 11/23/10 11:08 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago Police are once again mourning one of their own, after an off-duty officer was found shot to death on the city’s Southwest Side.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, no one was in custody in the officer’s slaying as of 11 a.m., and police say they have no suspects.
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The veteran officer was found dead in his personal sport-utility vehicle around 6:30 p.m. Monday, in the 2900 block of West Seipp Street in the Wrightwood neighborhood.
The windows on the SUV were rolled up, and initial reports said the officer’s gun was absent, although later reports indicated that it was with him. A cigarette was in the officer’s lips, according to published reports.
The officer was a 15-year veteran of the force, and was assigned to the SWAT team, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said. His identity had not been released as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, pending family notification.
The officer was found unresponsive inside his vehicle with a gunshot wound, Weis said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers have been stationed next to the crime scene since it happened.
Officer Theodore Browning has also been there, but he is not assigned to the scene. Rather, the eight-year veteran Chicago Police officer lives right across the street from the crime scene and actually heard the shots.
“Around the 7 o’clock hour, I heard several gunshots – five approximately – looked outside the window and saw a potential offender running from the scene of the crime,” Browning said. “Very unfortunate, very unfortunate.”
For Browning to learn that one of his colleagues was killed in front of his home was hard to take.
“It’s tough. We on the Police Department, we’re obviously hurting,” Browning said. “It’s been a tough couple of years for us; we’ve lost some other officers, and it’s extremely unfortunate.”
After detectives cleared the scene, the officer’s body was taken to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, 2121 W. Harrison St. Fellow officers paid tribute to their fallen colleague by escorting his body to the morgue in a silent blue-light tribute.
Other officers lined the street and paid their respects, as the officer’s SUV was also taken from the scene.
One witness reported hearing about eight shots before a person was seen running from the vehicle.
Detectives canvassed the area looking for evidence and other witnesses, as officers prepared to console another family and say goodbye to another brother in blue.
“We extend sincere condolences to the officer’s family and to his friends, and ask that they be remembered in your prayers, especially in these challenging days that lie ahead,” Weis said.
The suspect was last seen running east on Seipp Street, which is located between 85th Place and 86th Street.
This was the fourth Chicago Police officer to be killed by gunfire this year.
On July 18, Officer Michael Bailey was shot and killed while he was cleaning out his car near his home at 74th Street and Evans Avenue. He was just weeks away from retirement.
On July 7, Officer Thor Soderberg was shot and killed with his own weapon outside a police facility at 61st and Racine.
CBS 2′s Mike Puccinelli and the Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to ths report.