An investigation is underway after Chicago police were involved in a shooting in the area of 18th and Morgan Streets in the city's Pilsen neighborhood Friday morning, with a person of interest still at-large, authorities said.
At approximately 6:53 a.m. in the 1000 block of West 18th Street, Chicago police officers were driving to the Academy for police training when they saw two people wearing masks in front of a retail store, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said in a press conference Friday.
When one of the officers introduced himself as a Chicago police officer, one of the people displayed a handgun "an exchange of gunfire" occurred, Brown said.
Both officers exited the vehicle and the shooter, who was fleeing the scene, continued to fire shots, police said. No officers were hit, but a 23-year-old man was shot and reported to be in serious but stable condition at an area hospital.
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A 35-year-old man, who police said was an innocent bystander, suffered a graze wound to the leg and was taken to a nearby hospital in good condition.
Police said it was unclear as of Friday afternoon whether the 35-year-old man was shot by officers or by the other gunman. Preliminary evidence showed that the offender shot at police first in the exchange, Brown said.
“My prayers are with the individual who was shot in this morning’s shooting in Pilsen and we hope for a smooth and fast recovery," Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez said, who's 25th Ward includes Pilsen. "This incident, yet again, shows that we need guns off our streets to keep our communities safe and to address the root causes of gun violence in our City. Because we cannot keep living in fear. The investigation is still open and we are in communication with the Chicago Police Department Commander to help in any way we can.”
Witnesses nearby described a hectic and frightening scene, with multiple gunshots flying by, and a man falling to the ground crying out for help.
"At first I thought it was gang related, because it was so many shots," one witness said. "I immediately ducked down by a car. And when I got up after like, everything and the gun shots were done, I didn't realize it was the cops. I was just in shock. It was very traumatizing. When [the man] fell to the ground...I still thought it was gang related because it all happened so fast. And he was asking for help."
The witness continued, saying "I felt silly afterwards because I call 911, thinking it was gang related. I'm like, 'Oh, I don't need to call the cops. They're right here. They're the ones who shot at him.'"
According to officials, the two officers were taken to the hospital for observation, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it was investigating the shooting.
The Chicago Sun-Times wire contributed to this story.