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Officer killed in South Side shooting

July 8, 2010 4:28:09 AM PDT
Chicago police say an officer who was killed Wednesday had just ended his shift when he was confronted by a man who disarmed him, then used the officer's gun to fire the fatal shot.

The officer was identified publicly late Wednesday as Thor Soderberg, 43. He was an 11-year veteran of the department.

The shooting took place in a police facility parking lot in the city's Englewood neighborhood near 61st Street and Racine.

In a tribute to their fallen comrade, fellow officers took part in as procession as they left the scene near 61st and Racine while an ambulance carried the officer's body.

The procession stretched for several blocks and included marked and unmarked police vehicles.

The officer was recognized Wednesday night for helping community members, including those who were visually impaired.

"He was the kind of person who would do everything possible to make everyone safe," Mazen Istanbouli, the victim's friend.

"Not only have we lost a brother in arms, but the entire population of the city has lost someone that, had you known him, you would have been very proud to call him one of your own, as well ," said Mark Donahue of the Fraternal Order of Police during a press conference police held Wednesday night.

Chicago police say the 43-year-old officer normally worked at the police academy, but, like other administrative officers, is assigned to work the streets one week a month.

The program is called Operation Protect Youth. Police say, in this case, the suspect was in his 20s.

Residents nearby say they heard several shots.

"We heard five shots, then it stopped. Then, like 5 more shots and it stopped again. Then, next thing we know, police were flying back and forth," said Dennis Buckner.

Police say, after shooting the officer, the suspect was involved in an armed robbery on a nearby street. At that point, officers inside the building heard gunfire and responded. They exchanged shots with the suspect, who was injured.

"We saw a guy-- he was shot and everything. He was bleeding -- and they had handcuffs on him; he was bleeding from the mouth and from the face," said witness Robert Eddmonds.

The suspect, who is expected to be charged for the officers' death, was taken to Christ hospital and was expected to survive.

The officer who was gunned down Wednesday is the third Chicago police officer killed in the Englewood police district in the last 13 months.

Officer Thomas Wortham IV was killed in May while he was off-duty. Police say he was confronted by robbers and then shot outside his parents' South Side home.

Sgt. Alan Haymaker died last February on his way to a call. He lost control of his squad car on Lake Shore Drive.

Officer Alejandro Valadez was shot and killed in June 2009 while responding to a call, as well.


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