PARK FOREST, Ill. (WLS) --A Park Forest police officer was critically injured early Saturday, and the man accused of shooting him is dead, after an exchange of gunfire in the south suburb.
The man killed was identified as Thurman Reynolds, 21, of Park Forest, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
He is accused of shooting Officer Tim Jones, who sustained life-threatening injuries and was in critical condition Saturday evening. Jones was shot three times in the jaw and neck. He was taken to Franciscan St. James Health in Olympia Fields, then airlifted to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where he underwent surgery.
Jones, 24, who has been on the Park Forest police department for less than a year, was in the intensive care unit Saturday night. Someone who spoke to his mother told ABC7 that the next 24 hours will be critical to the young officer's survival and recovery.
He come from a police family, his father is William Jones, the police chief in suburban Country Club Hills.
"It's just a horrible thing to happen to any officer, but to happen to a new officer just doesn't sit well with me," said JeRome Brown, a Park Forest trustee who attended Jones' swearing-in ceremony.
It's the first time a Park Forest officer has been shot in the line of duty in over 20 years, officials said.
Throughout Saturday, several police officers were seen entering the hospital to show their support for Jones.
Jones and five to seven other officers were investigating reports of a break-in at a vacant home in the 300-block of Neola Street about 5:40 a.m., police said. A neighbor called 911 to report that he heard the sound of breaking glass in a community that is typically quiet.
"When the police came, I just heard gunshots," said neighbor Latina Bentley.
When police found a stolen vehicle at that location and learned that someone was inside they home, they set up a perimeter around the building.
"He tried escaping from a window, when officers went to detain him, he produced a handgun and began firing upon officers," said Christopher Mannino, deputy chief of the Park Forest Police Chief.
Friends of the Reynolds, the man accused of shooting Jones, said he had just moved back from Texas and can't believe that he was involved.