Park Forest police release powerful message after officer shot

ByJade Hernandez, Evelyn Holmes and Michelle Gallardo WLS logo
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Police officer shot in Park Forest
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Officer Tim Jones, 24, has been on the Park Forest Police Department for less than a year. He comes from a police family.

PARK FOREST, Ill. (WLS) -- The Park Forest Police Department posted a powerful note to the people they serve Sunday following the shooting of one of their officers.

Officer Tim Jones was critically injured early Saturday, and the man accused of shooting him is dead, after an exchange of gunfire in the south suburb.

Park Forest police said Sunday Jones remained in critical but stable condition.

"A Park Forest Police Officer is with him and his family 24 hours a day. That's the thing about this job: When tragedy strikes, it's not just a job, it's family," a Facebook post said.

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 Jones, who sustained life-threatening injuries. 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.

"We are overwhelmed by the show of support from citizens far and wide and from law enforcement agencies across the country. Unfortunately, far too many police departments understand what we are going through," the PFPD post said.

Jones 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.

"We continue to have an important job to do, serving and protecting the people of Park Forest, and no matter when or where you are reading this, you can be sure we are out there doing that very job. We are a small, tree-lined community tucked among the many Chicago suburbs and a stone's throw from the Indiana state line, and while we have experienced the same challenges facing the rest of the region, we will continue to work hard to keep Park Forest the friendly, livable community it has always been," the PFPD post said. "Again, thank you for your support. It means more than you will ever know, and please continue to keep Officer Jones and his family in your thoughts and prayers."

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.

An individual who spoke to