UPDATED 03/29/11 5:14 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – An off-duty Chicago Police officer shot and killed a man who tried to attack the officer in his Roseland neighborhood home Tuesday morning.
Just before 8 a.m. Tuesday, an intruder armed with a weapon entered the home of an off-duty officer in the 10000 block of South Princeton Avenue, according to police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.
“The intruder attempted to attack the officer who, in fear for his life, shot the suspect,” Mirabelli said.
As CBS 2′s Mai Martinez reports, the officer’s neighbors said the man might have been shot while he was trying to steal copper wiring from an air conditioning unit outside the officer’s home.
Neighor Dewain Easterling said that, before he heard the gunshots, he heard the officer yelling.
“He hollered ‘Police officer stop, police,’ and next thing you know there was three shots and everything went quiet after that, and then after a while I seen him come out the front, I came to ask him what’s going on,” Easterling said. “He said someone trying to break in his house and he shot him.”
“He was, I ain’t going to say nervous, but he seem shooken up,” Easterling added.
The suspect was armed with some type of cutting instrument. Police initially said he was “very critically” injured.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the man had died. His name was not being released as of Tuesday afternoon
The officer was not injured, Mirabelli said.
John Cooper was fast asleep next door to the officer’s house when he heard the shots.
“When I came to the back door, I saw somebody laying and I saw my neighbor standing next to him,” Cooper said.
The wounded man was on the grass just a few feet from his neighbor’s air conditioning unit, according to Cooper.
“When I saw him, he was still alive. To be honest, I believe I saw his last breath,” Cooper said.
He and other neighbors said they recognized the man from the neighborhood, and believe he had been trying to steal copper wiring from the officer’s air conditioning unit.
“This is the third time that the guy done came. As you can see the brackets are being taken off, and that last one is still on,” Cooper said. “I guess that’s the one he was trying to get.”
Neighbors said there’s been a rash of similar thefts in the area and homeowners are fed up.
“They take gutters, anything they can sell,” Easterling said. “We work hard for our stuff over here. No one wants no one to break in your house, but you have to protect your house too.”
“It’s unfortunate. No one wants to take someone’s life, but he was protecting his property,” Easterling added.
Calumet Area detectives and the Independent Police Review Authority are investigating.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.