CHICAGO (CBS) — Five Chicago police officers, who were involved in a gun battle with a suspect 13 months ago were honored Tuesday morning as the Officers of the Month by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
Phil Cline, executive director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, said that more than a year ago on the West Side, now-Sergeant Thomas Surma and his partner had encountered a man at Madison and Kenton who had allegedly just shot his pregnant girlfriend.
“The offender shot at the police officers and one of the bullets grazed Officer Surma,” Cline said.
Surma said he fell to the ground and someone helped him up and he and other responding officers went looking for the suspect. Cline said the suspect was found a few blocks away and used a gangway to shield himself while he fired shots at the officers.
Cline said the officers told the suspect to give up and stop shooting, but the gunman kept firing until police returned fire, killing the suspect.
One of those officers is now Sgt. Curtis Wallace who said attitudes in the community are changing towards police.
“I believe that people are appreciating what we do. The only people that don’t appreciate what we do are the people we’re trying to lock up,” he said.
The other officers honored are Monica Calixto, Sean Najim and Miles Furlet.
Phil Cline commends the officers and said that, like other officers on the Chicago Police Department, “These guys run towards violence when everybody else is running away.”
Since the incident took place, Officer Wallace was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and is working in the 2nd police district. Officer Surma was also promoted to Sergeant and is presently attending classes, anticipating his graduation and new assignment later this month. Officer Furlet moved into the Gang Enforcement North unit and Officer Najm and Calixto have chosen to continue the fight against violent crime on Chicago’s West Side in the 11th district.