(CBS) –One Chicago alderman says he wants police officers to have the option of carrying high-powered weaponry in the most dangerous neighborhoods.
The suggestion comes in the wake of this week’s ambush of two Chicago police officers in Back of the Yards; a high-powered rifle was used against the pair.
“When you have an area that’s identified where gangs are carrying long, automatic weapons then there should be no question officers deployed in those areas are equipped with those kinds of weapons,” 20th Ward Ald. Willie B Cochran said in a prepared statement.
The Chicago police union backs the idea.
“If our members are being attacked with shotguns and high-powered rifles, then we need the tools to fight off those kind of assaults and go home to our families at the end of the night,” a statement from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 said.
Chicago police were tight-lipped about their progress in finding suspects who fired on the two officers Tuesday night, seriously injuring them.
“I can certainly understand that. We want to catch the people that did that and make sure we have prosecutions on these cases,” Kevin Graham, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, tells CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez.
The good news is both of the plainclothes officers have been released from the hospital. Both of them work of the 9th District police station at 31st and Halsted.
The ambush of the pair happened around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday at 43rd and Ashland, as they were doing surveillance in an unmarked vehicle. Two vehicles pulled up and shot at the officers, who returned fire.
Police quickly located a silver minivan and a silver Trailblazer abandoned nearby, one with an automatic rifle inside.
Police could be seen searching a home near 48th and Bishop on Wednesday.
The two officers have not been identified. Both have around-the-clock protection as the investigation into the shooting continues.
Three persons of interest were being interviewed by police.
The Back of the Yards neighborhood has seen some improvements with redevelopments. But locals say gang-related violence persists.