CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago police officer and a burglary suspect were wounded in an exchange of gunfire on the city's North Side early Monday morning, CPD said.
That officer, a 17-year veteran of the department, was released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Monday afternoon after being shot in the left leg. The man he exchanged gunfire with is still hospitalized.
Investigators said the suspect is just one part of the crew that attempted a crash-and-grab burglary at the Gold Coast Prada store before it all went horribly wrong.
By the early afternoon hours, a smashed window and police tape was all that remained of the chaotic scene that unfolded in the Gold Coast just minutes after 4 a.m., as police responded to calls of a crash-and-grab at Rush and Oak streets.
In the chaos overheard on scanner traffic, you can hear the injured CPD officer say, "I'm hit." The 55-year-old officer spoke those words moments after, CPD Supt. Larry Snelling said, he was shot while chasing down one of the would-be burglars.
"They encountered an individual who was armed with a handgun. The officers attempted to de-escalate by telling the subject to drop the gun. He did not. Shortly thereafter, there was an exchange of gunfire," Snelling said.
That exchange happened at Walton and State streets, two blocks from the original scene.
Both officers opened fire in response to the gunman, who was later seen being loaded onto an ambulance, Snelling said.
Investigators recovered two guns with extended magazines from the scene.
"The weapon used by this offender had an extended magazine and an illegal switch to make it an automatic weapon so the potential for this officer to have lost his life cannot be denied," said 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins.
While the gunman who shot the officer is in custody, police are still looking for his accomplices, who ditched two stolen vehicles, a white Jeep and a grey Durango, in the middle of the street.
"They attempted to drive one vehicle, which was an SUV a Durango. They attempted to drive that into the window of the Prada store," Snelling said. "We don't have the exact number right now. We do know there were multiple individuals involved in this."
Monday morning's attempted burglary added to a growing list of crash-and-grabs that have happened in the city over the past few months.
This one, Hopkins said, involved at least one stolen vehicle recovered in his ward. Hopkins said he's now working with retailers and the Department of Transportation to install physical barriers, called security bollards, as a means of protection and prevention.
Police said the Civilian Office of Police Accountability is now investigating. The injured officer, who was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital not by ambulance, but by his own colleagues, is expected to make a full recovery.
No word yet on what charges the suspect may be facing.
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