The shooting happened shortly before 8 a.m. near 100th Street and South Princeton Avenue in the city's Fernwood neighborhood.
Neighbors say the suspect jumped a fence into the officer's yard and proceeded to cut a tube to the air conditioning unit. The officer, who was off-duty at the time, confronted the suspect who then, according to police, struck the officer with a cutting instrument. Police say the officer, fearing for his life, fatally shot the suspect.
Residents of the tight-knit neighborhood say the same person has targeted other units in the area, stealing tubes containing copper wiring and cashing them in at scrap metal dealers. They say this is the third time the offender has tried to steal from the officer.
"No one's safe anymore. You have to question the mentality of the people who are doing it," said Booker Donelson.
Throughout the morning, investigators gathered evidence and recovered the suspect's weapon.
Neighbors say the suspect, who was in his late 30s, suffered a gunshot wound last summer during an altercation on the block.
"It's unfortunate what happened, but you live by the sword, you die by it," said Dwain Easterling.
The officer, assigned to the Englewood district, is one of several who live on that block, according to neighbors who says he has a wife and young child. He was treated for a cut to his arm.
The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating.
The suspect has not yet been identified.