Two Chicago police officers were shot and wounded early Friday by a gunman who dropped a handgun while waiting in line at a restaurant with one of the officers, picked it up and opened fire, police said.
The suspected gunman was captured nearby and the officers were taken to a hospital, Chicago police spokesman Tom Ahern said on Twitter. Their injuries were described by police as non-life-threatening and they were listed in fair condition, police said.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters that the officers “were ambushed” by the gunman, who fled following the shooting but was quickly caught by other officers.
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The shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. at the Original Maxwell Street hot dog stand on the city's west side as the gunman and one of the officers waited in line, Brown said.
“The offender had ordered his food and was in line in front of the officer,” Brown said. “The offender reached in his pocket to pay for his order, a gun fell out of the offender’s waistband.
“The officer noticed the gun falling out, but before they could take action, the offender grabbed the gun, picked it up and began immediately shooting at the officers,” Brown added.
He said the shots struck the officer, who was standing near the suspect, while that officer's partner, who had been sitting inside a squad car, was also struck when the suspect fired at least three times into the car.
The officer who was in line sustained a graze wound to the head while the other officer was shot in the leg, Brown said. Both were recovering Friday afternoon. Neither officer fired any shots, he said, and a weapon believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered.
An undercover officer was nearby and quickly able to get the suspect and his handgun into custody.
In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the "brazen" and "callous," saying it's a reminder of the "incredible dangers that our police officers face on a daily basis in order to keep our city safe."
The shooting comes amid a spate of incidents in which Chicago officers have been shot or targeted by gunfire. In 2020, 80 officers were shot at. Last year, 76 officers were fired upon, including 14 who were struck. In August, Officer Ella French was killed when a man opened fire during a traffic stop. French's partner was wounded but survived.
The investigation into the shooting was in the early stages, Brown said, and more information would be released later. Both officers will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days, police said.
" It really highlights the dangers of this job, split seconds, really shows the stark dangers of being a cop," Brown said.