Chicago aldermen call for police access to high-powered weapons after 2 officers shot

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After two undercover Chicago police officers were shot in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood, there is a call to give police new weapons to protect officers.

Investigators said the shooter in Tuesday night's attack on police used a high-powered rifle. Several aldermen said that highlights a very serious issue.

Those aldermen believe more police need training and access to the same kinds of high-powered weapons, so they can better protect themselves.

They made that call Wednesday night, after the two injured officers returned home from the hospital.

Police said the plainclothes officers from the 9th District were conducting a gang investigation around 9:10 p.m. Tuesday near West 43rd Street and South Ashland Avenue when one or two cars followed them and opened fire on their gray, unmarked, tactical van.

The van was riddled with bullet holes. An AR-15 assault rifle was found near the scene, along with a car that may have been used in the attack.

Police said they have seen a rise in the use of military-style rifles in Chicago gang wars.

"The police department has to begin thinking outside the box and get these officers certified so we can carry these weapons," Alderman Ed Burke (14th Ward) said.

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said he wants more officers to be trained on how to use rifles and for the weapons to be available on the beat.

"I'm not looking for one in every car. I am looking for officers who are qualified to carry them to have them as another tool to address crime in our city, Graham said. "

There was a moment of prayer Wednesday night at the 9th District headquarters. There was also a vigil at the scene of the shooting.

"Just coming on the scene and seeing what was left of the vehicle that was shot up was heart wrenching. I'm glad the officers are alright and resting with friends and family," CPD District 9 Commander Stephen Chung said.

Police are still questioning three men, who have each been called a person of interest. No one has been charged.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incident, including comprehensive use of force. The CPD is cooperating. Per department policy, the officers involved in the shooting will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days.
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