CHICAGO (CBS) — A bank robbery suspect led police on a chase from Des Plaines all the way to the Old Irving Park neighborhood, where police say he shot a Chicago Police officer, and then was shot and killed in a gun battle with Des Plaines police inside a music school.
The gunfire in the music school also wounded a boy who was just there taking a piano lesson.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said it all started with a bank robbery almost 11 miles away in suburban Des Plaines. Following the robbery, police in Des Plaines were able to capture one of the offenders who fled on foot.
But the other bank robbery suspect remained at large and went on to steal a car and drive toward the city, Johnson said.
FBI agents, and Chicago, Des Plaines, and Illinois State Police officers were able to track the suspect’s movements. Chicago Police were waiting when the suspect got off the Kennedy Expressway at Irving Park Road at about 6:53 p.m., Johnson said.
Upon seeing Chicago Police at Irving Park Road near Kildare Avenue, the robbery suspect fired at the vehicles – striking a Chicago Police officer in the head, Johnson said. The officer suffered a skull fracture and was in serious condition.
Des Plaines police continued their pursuit, which eventually ended in a music school, believed to be UpBeat Music and Arts at 4318 W. Irving Park Rd. Des Plaines police and the suspect exchanged gunfire, and the 32-year-old suspect was shot and killed, Johnson said.
A 15-year-old bystander who was in the music school for a piano lesson at the time of the shooting was shot in the arm and the abdomen in the melee. He was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital where his condition was critical, but later stabilized.
No shots were fired by Chicago Police officers.
Witness Bryan Lewis was on his way out of the nearby Irving Park YMCA when he came upon the gun battle in the street.
“I came out of the Y and I heard the police sirens and I saw a car in front and I heard a loud smack, I guess the police officers hit the back of the car, and I saw the guy get out and start shooting,” he said. “So I ducked and as I looked up I saw police officers hopping out with riot shields and assault rifles and they started chasing the guy I think into a store. And the guy kept shooting and they stopped and that was it.”
Witness Brian Deets was on a bus.
“I was on the bus right here about ready to get off at Kildare and the police started coming down the street, so the bus driver pulled over about middle of the block, and the next thing you know I hear ‘pop, pop,’ and I’m like, ‘That sounded like gunshots!’” he said. “So everybody was kind of getting down on the bus and the bus driver pulled up a little bit further and then he actually opened the door, and that’s when I got out and all the police cars were going down. There had to be at least 15 cars. And they’re running into the store across the street and it looked like someone was on the ground at that point.”
Amanda Mohr and Lesley Manzo were at work nearby at a Potbelly sandwich shop, which had to close as police swarmed to the scene.
“Customers were freaking out. They were really scared. They were coming to us like we had information,” Mohr said.
“We were in the middle of a shift and since this was all happening, we called our district manager, and she said it was all OK for us to lock our doors because of the dangerous,” Manzo added.
Mohr said a police officer told her what had happened.
“And then we talked to a cop and then we called 311 and they said there was a bank robbery in Des Plaines and the cop and the suspect came all the way over here and that the cop got shot in the head,” she said.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, it turned out that his injury was more serious than the graze wound initially reported.
Police said some image testing showed the bullet penetrated the officer’s skull.
“He does have a skull fracture. He does have blood on the brain. I would say he’s currently in serious, but stable condition,” said Dr. Marius Katilius, who treated the officer. “The next 24 hours will be pivotal.”
The injured officer was a 17-year veteran of the CPD and 41 years old – now assigned to the 17th (Albany Park) District. He has received more than 100 awards from the department for his exemplary police work, Johnson said.
“Again, this was a very tumultuous scene,” Johnson said. “I want to offer my heartfelt concern for all those involved, and I pray for a speedy recovery for the officer and the 15-year-old.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke alongside Supt. Johnson at Advocate Illinois Masonic. The mayor noted that Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting at Mercy Hospital.
On Nov. 19. 2018, Juan Lopez opened fire outside and in the lobby of the Near South Side hospital. He shot and killed Dr. Tamara O’Neal, Dr. Dayna Less, and Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jiminez before turning the gun on himself.
“This evening, as the superintendent described, we are once again reminded of the service and sacrifice that our officers make every single day to protect the city and to keep us safe,” Lightfoot said. “My wife and I are all Chicagoans to come together and pray for the officer who was shot this evening, as well as a young individual who was also shot in the crossfire.”