CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Chicago police officers who were shot in an ambush and two detectives who helped track down one of the suspects were honored for their bravery and dedication on Tuesday.
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation named the four officers the “Officers of the Month” on Tuesday.
Officers Colin Ryan and Leo Augle were conducting surveillance on gang members on May 2 near 43rd and Ashland. They were following an SUV when gang members in a stolen van pulled up to their unmarked vehicle and opened fire with a high-powered assault rifle.
The attackers fired 28 shots, 23 of which struck the officers’ vehicle. Ryan was shot in the arm, and Augle was shot in the back. They returned fire as the attackers sped away.
Both officers were released from the hospital the next morning.
“We were lucky that day. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We were very lucky that night, and thank our lucky stars is all I can say,” Augle said Tuesday.
Detectives John Halloran and James O’Brien worked around the clock to find the gang members who ambushed Ryan and Augle, working tirelessly, despite being two weeks away from retirement.
Police quickly found the stolen minivan and the Chevy Trailblazer used in the ambush.
The man who allegedly drove the shooters, 18-year-old Angel Gomez, was charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. A judge ordered him held without bail.
O’Brien said the best thing to come out of the situation was Augle and Ryan survived.
“Thank God they’re here. We were fortunate that we were close enough to be right there when this happened, get a description, put it out, and then the Police Department does what it always does in situations like this. It came together, and everybody worked for the common goal,” he said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for the suspected gunman, who remains at large.
Both officers are hoping to return to work as soon as they are cleared medically. Officer Augle thinks that might be next month. It could be longer for Officer Ryan.