CHICAGO (CBS) — A 25-year-old convicted felon has been charged in connection with the shooting of a Chicago police officer, authorities say.
The officer was expected to make a full recovery following the incident on the Far South Side late Wednesday night.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said two plainclothes Calumet District officers were on foot patrol around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, when they saw a group of people loitering and “acting suspiciously” in a parking lot near 95th and Calumet.
When the officers approached, two individuals fled on foot. The officers gave chase, and one of the individuals turned and fired a shot, striking one of the officers, knocking him to the ground, according to Johnson.
As the wounded officer was lying on the ground, the gunman continued to fire, Johnson said.
“He shot at the officer, struck him in the hand, the officer went down. While the officer was lying on the ground, this individual continued firing, obviously trying to kill this officer,” he said.
The wounded officer and his partner returned fire, and the gunman was arrested. Johnson said the weapon used to shoot the officer was recovered.
Charged with two felony counts of attempted first-degree murder was Anthony Woodridge, a Chicago man who previously was convicted of a felony gun charge. Woodridge was on parole, Chicago police said.
The officer was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
“His spirits are good. He should make a full recovery,” Johnson said.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the officer was awaiting surgery Thursday afternoon, and likely would stay at the hospital overnight.
Johnson said the gunman is a 25-year-old man who has been arrested 15 times as an adult, and four felony convictions. The superintendent said the suspect was convicted of illegal possession of a handgun by a felon on parole last year.
“He was sentenced to 4 ½ years in June of 2016. Now here we are in December of 2017, and this individual is out on the streets of Chicago, shooting at my police officers,” he said. “If this guy would be so brazen to fire at a Chicago police officer, what would he do to the average citizen of this city? That’s why that repeat gun offender bill is so important.”
The superintendent was referring to legislation the governor signed into law in June, encouraging judges to hand down longer sentences for repeat gun offenders.
“It’s ridiculous to me that we continue to see the same individuals come out here on the streets and shoot at people; notwithstanding police officers, but just commit these brazen acts of violence in our community, and it has got to stop. We need to pass more common sense gun laws, because we have to give the police the tools, and the good citizens of this city the tools to be safe,” Johnson said.
Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th), whose ward is home to a large population of police officers, said prosecutors and judges need to do a better job of making sure repeat gun offenders face stiff penalties.
“This guy was sentenced less than a year-and-a-half ago to four years; multiple felony convictions involving guns, and he tried to assassinate a Chicago police officer last night. When is this going to stop? When are judges and prosecutors going to step up? Does someone have an answer for me for that? We almost lost a Chicago police officer last night,” O’Shea said.
The officers involved in the shooting were wearing vests and body cameras.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability will review video of the incident as part of the office’s investigation of the police use of force. The officers involved will be placed on desk duty for at least 30 days, per department protocol.
Guglielmi said charges were pending against the gunman, and likely would be filed no later than Friday.