Off-Duty Cop Fatally Shot In River North, Police Search for 2 Other Suspects

“Mark my words," Supt. Johnson said. "We will find them"

An off-duty Chicago police officer was fatally shot in what appears to be a random attack early Saturday in River North, and another man who was with him is in critical condition after being wounded.

The 23-year-old fallen officer was identified as John P. Rivera.

A police procession from Cook County Medical Examiner's office to the funeral home was to take place Sunday afternoon, CPD Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted. Officers escorted the body to Elmwood Funeral Home on the South East Side.

Chicago Police Memorial Foundation says services are set to be held there on Thursday and Friday.

Rivera, who worked in the Gresham District and was with the police department for nearly two years, and three other people were sitting in a parked Honda Accord in the 700 block of North Clark Street around 3:30 a.m. when two unknown males approached them, police said. One of them fired shots into the car, and both then ran away.

“Right now I am disgusted by frankly, what we know about this incident so far, it’s just really disgusting,” said Supt. Eddie Johnson in his opening statement at the press conference Saturday afternoon.

John P. Rivera, 23, lost his life early Saturday at what appears to be a random shooting, according to police. NBC 5’s Lexi Sutter has the fallen officer’s story.

The officer, who had worked his shift the night before and had handled the paperwork on a murder case, was struck in the chest, arm and mouth after leaving Stout Barrel House, police said. He was pronounced dead around 3:50 a.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

CPD confirmed that Officer Rivera was at the Sangamon shooting Friday night.

The other man, also 23 years old, was also taken to Northwestern with wounds to the chest and arms, police said. He was in critical “but stable” condition, and he underwent surgery Saturday morning.

“This appears to be an unprovoked attack against a group of individuals who went out to unwind on a Friday night,” Johnson confirmed.

A total of four people were in the vehicle shot including the police officer who was killed, the man who was critically wounded, another off-duty Chicago police officer and a woman. The second officer and the woman were not hurt.

The motive for the shooting is unknown. “There’s no problems, there’s no words exchanged,” Deputy Police Supt. Anthony Riccio told reporters, adding that police will be reviewing video surveillance footage of the block.

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Johnson said at least one person of interest was being questioned by authorities and they are in search of two other individuals, one of whom could be the alleged shooter involved in the incident.

“Mark my words. We will find them,” he said.

Johnson said that no weapon has been recovered at this time.

The highly-trafficked area where the shooting happened is a short distance from numerous bars, restaurants and Holy Name Cathedral. It’s also a short walk away from Sound Bar, where a security guard was killed during an early-morning shootout outside that club earlier this month.

Other details about the shooting weren’t immediately available.

Supt. Johnson went on to say that Rivera was "the kind of officer that we want in Chicago. Hard-worker, who loved going out on patrol and solving problems...he helped investigate a tragic murder, helped console a family on an unthinkable loss."

According to Johnson, Rivera also served alongside his son.

“Each and every day, we dedicate our professional lives to protect this city, to fight for victims of gun violence," he said. "Today, we grieve alongside a countless number of other Chicago families also torn, torn apart by reckless acts of individuals who feel undeterred to use and carry guns in the city of Chicago and this simply has got to end."

An autopsy for Rivera was scheduled for Sunday.

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