Park Forest Police Officer Tim Jones is “still fighting for his life” days after he was critically wounded in a shooting while investigating a break-in in the southern suburb.
Police said Monday the Park Forest department “has never dealt with something like this,” but they’re honoring Jones for his heroic efforts.
Jones was shot Saturday morning around 5:40 a.m. in the 300 block of Neola St, investigating a break-in and a stolen vehicle, according to police.
Officers discovered there was a person inside the vacant residence and a perimeter was set up around the building, said Officer Christopher Mannino, Deputy Chief of Police for the Park Forest Police Department. The suspect tried to leave the house through a window and as officers attempted to detain him, he produced a handgun and began firing, police say.
Park Forest Police confirmed that officers returned fire, striking the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
“[Jones] exuded the police job,” Mannino said. “He was made to do this.”
An officer has been by Jones’ bedside every minute of every hour since the shooting.
“It’s a very serious situation,” Mannino said. “We’re taking it day by day at this point.”
Community members gathered Monday night to show their support for Jones and his family.
Hundreds of Park Forest residents and officers gathered at St. Irenaeus Church to pray for the officer.
"You know there's so much negative about police and I want them to see the positive," resident Susan Tutorow said.
"I though it was great that people are praying for him and he will get well soon," resident Jade Harris said.
On the way out of the vigil at the church, residents took blue ribbons to take home and they wrote letters for the officer to read when he gets better.
"In terms of numbers, how many came, it does speak for self," Father Terry Johnson said.
“The support has been absolutely incredible,” Mannino said. “It’s been a nonstop stream of people coming in, leaving comments, calling, emails. It’s been really incredible.”
Signs have been posted around the town sharing get well messages alongside blue ribbons.
"It's that kind of thing that you don't anticipate is ever going to happen," said Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg, who visited Jones' family at Christ hospital Monday. "Some of the folks I spoke to today said they saw some signs that were positive but the family is very, very, very strong and so are his fellow officers."
Jones has been with the department for about a year, and he comes from a law enforcement family: his father is the police chief for Country Club Hills.
On Saturday night, authorities identified the deceased suspect as 21-year-old Thurman Reynolds of Park Forest.
The incident is under investigation by the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force, police say.