The off-duty officer was driving in the 200-block of East 37th Street at about 1:38 a.m. with a woman when he noticed someone in a black Toyota circling the block, Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. When the woman in the Jeep called 911, the Toyota pulled up behind them and fired about 20 shots into the SUV before taking off. The officer was hit in the head.
WATCH: Supt. Johnson discusses shooting of off-duty CPD officer
"This tragic event reminds us that Chicago police officers are not immune to the gun violence that affects our city," Johnson said.
The off-duty officer's SUV knocked over a stop sign, side-swiped a fence and collided with a tree before coming to rest outside Ida B. Wells Preparatory Elementary School, Johnson said. Officers conducting a traffic stop nearby responded after hearing the gunshots.
Chicago police identified the suspected vehicle from which the shots were fired on multiple cameras. They are looking for a newer four-door Toyota Camry, dark in color, with tinted window. Police are working to trace the route it traveled using traffic and city POD cameras.
CASE UPDATE: We are seeking a newer 4 door Toyota Camry, dark in color, with tinted windows. Detectives have isolated the suspect vehicle on multiple cameras and are working to trace its path of travel with traffic and city POD cameras. pic.twitter.com/jsuxTJoduT— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) June 27, 2019
Police said the vehicle was last seen traveling southbound on Michigan Avenue from 37th Street.
"I was sitting in the back and I heard some shooting and got up and came in the house," said neighbor Bobby Waller. "That's what people are supposed to do when they hear shooting."
The victim was transported to University of Chicago Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery and remains in critical condition. The woman in the vehicle along with the officer was not injured.
"I would like everyone to please keep him and his family and the 6th District and the officers of the Chicago Police Department in their thoughts and prayers today, because I think that is what is really going to get him to pull through," said Kevin Graham, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
BREAKING: Off Duty CPD Officer shot in the head overnight. Investigators have the area blocked off near 37th and Indiana Avenue. CPD says the officer was driving in that area when someone fired shots at his car. Press conference at 10:30. @ABC7Chicago pic.twitter.com/JxHkycNQpZ— Alexis McAdams ABC-7 (@AlexisMcAdamsTV) June 26, 2019
The officer had just gotten off duty. Police believe he may have been targeted in a case of mistaken identity.
Johnson said the officer has been on the force for two years and works in the 6th District, where his father previously worked before retiring in October. Johnson said his son works in the 6th District alongside the wounded officer.
"Now I have no doubt that this officer has seen his share of gun violence while working in the same district," Johnson said. "Illegal guns have had a significant impact on a lot of neighborhoods in this city. Today this same violence has left one of our own clinging to life."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot visited the officer and his family in the hospital, and released a statement on the shooting which said in part, "We must come together to stem the gun violence that too many residents and neighborhoods know all too well. I ask every Chicagoan to keep all of our victims of gun violence in your prayers and today say a special prayer for the officer, his family, and the Sixth District."
Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich also tweeted about the shooting.
Praying for @Chicago_Police officer who was shot today and is in critical condition. May God help us end the gun violence plaguing our streets and may the officer’s family, friends and colleagues find comfort in the Lord during these moments of profound pain.— Cardinal Cupich (@CardinalBCupich) June 26, 2019
No one is in custody. Anyone with information is asked to contact Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8380.