Drug Dealer Kills Officer, Police Say

A shootout at the home of a suspected drug dealer left a police veteran dead over the weekend.

Nathaniel Taylor Jr., known by his friends as "Nate," was killed by a convicted felon as officers attempted to execute a search warrant, police said.  Police shot suspect Lamar Cooper, 37, who was in stable condition early Monday at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, police said.

The shooting happened while several officers were waiting outside Cooper's home in the 7900 block of South Clyde Street.  Cooper pulled up in a car, and police announced themselves.  Then Cooper opened fire, officers said.

When the bullets stopped flying, Cooper and Officer Taylor had been shot. Taylor was hit three times, once in the head, a source said.  Taylor never fired his gun, another source said.

Two packets of drugs were found in Cooper's mouth when he was arrested, sources said, and his handgun was recovered at the scene.

Drugs, weapons and a bullet-proof vest were found inside Cooper's home, a police source said.

Sources said Taylor was a well-liked, respected 14-year veteran of the force, and a 39-year-old married father of a young daughter.

The officer was assigned to investigate gang intelligence and was detailed to narcotics. "He was loved by his partners and his teammates," said Leo Schmitz, acting deputy chief of the Organized Crime Division. "He was the guy everyone went to with questions."

In fact, Taylor warned officers about the dangers of narcotics work. Hundreds of officers gathered at Advocate Christ Medical Center to comfort his family and one another.

Taylor, who was one of three Chicago officers to be killed since July, died about 6 p.m. Sunday at the hospital.

"Their work is very dangerous," said Monique Bond, a police spokeswoman. "You just don't know what to expect or what you're walking into."

Friends said Cooper's vehicle appeared to have 8 to 10 bullet holes when it was towed from the home Sunday.

After the tow, police used a K-9 unit German shepherd to sniff another vehicle, a maroon SUV, parked outside the home. Police at the scene said the dog sat down in what appeared to signal a "hit" for contraband. Officers could be seen combing the interior and underside of the SUV on Sunday afternoon.

Police were watching Cooper because of intelligence suggesting he was selling drugs late at night into early morning, a source said.

His brick Georgian home had what appeared to be six security cameras affixed to front, side and rear exterior walls. A sign on the front lawn warned the premises are protected by a burglar alarm, and a Neighborhood Watch placard was in the front window. Three signs on a tall fence surrounding the yard announced the home is guarded by security dogs.

After the shooting, authorities removed three dogs from the home, according to Cooper's friends: two Rottweilers named Morocco and Rocky and a mutt named Hulk.

Neighbors said police asked them about whether they noticed unusual activity at Cooper's home. "The police said 'he has a lot of cameras,' '' said Doreen Lopez.

Cooper also has convictions for burglary, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a firearm, police said.

Kenneth Hastings said Cooper and his wife, Octavia, were friendly neighbors who visited an area mosque. Hastings said he has a child with Octavia Cooper from a past relationship, so his son is Cooper's stepchild.

Cooper was a handy homeowner who did construction, Hastings said. Sometimes, he helped with his wife's catering jobs.

"We just got back from Disney World in July" with the Coopers, said Hastings.

"If they were serving a search warrant, how do you get 8 to 10 bullet holes in a car windshield?" Hastings said.

Neighbor R.J. Rhodes said the Coopers were social. "When we first moved in here, his wife informed me they were having a Halloween party for the kids on the block, and that's the kind of thing they did."

Having several security cameras on the home didn't surprise him, Rhodes said. "This used to be a nice neighborhood, and now it's a bad neighborhood," Rhodes said.

A neighbor of the slain officer described him as a "great friend" who would "give you the shirt off his back." Lynden Williams, a Metra police officer, said Taylor was "very professional."

Calumet Area detectives and the Independent Police Review Authority are investigating.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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