An officer is "battling for his life" after he was shot while off-duty early Wednesday morning in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, police said.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the 25-year-old officer was shot minutes after after 1:30 a.m. just blocks from CPD's headquarters when a gunman opened fire from a vehicle and hit him.
According to police, the officer had been riding with a "female companion" when he noticed a vehicle following them and called 911.
That's when someone inside the black vehicle opened fire on the officer in the 200 block of 37th Street, striking him in the head.
The officer's SUV then hit a stop sign, side-swiped a fence and collided with a tree before coming to a stop outside the Ida B. Wells Preparatory Elementary Academy, Supt. Eddie Johnson said. The woman in the car was not injured, authorities said.
Officers conducting a traffic stop nearby "heard the commotion and responded immediately," Johnson said.
"This tragic event reminds us that Chicago police officers are not immune to the gun violence that affects our city. CPD officers live in Chicago, we send our children to school here, we play in the parks near our homes and we eat in the restaurants in our neighborhoods," Johnson said. "Chicago police officers are part of the fabric of our city and this goes beyond the time when we’re wearing our uniforms and badges."
The officer remained in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery later Wednesday morning, but Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Kevin Graham said he was "showing signs of improvement."
The officer is a two-year veteran on the force, Johnson said, and works in the 6th District, where his father also served. The 6th District is also where Johnson's son works.
"This incident has a significant impact on me personally," Johnson said, asking for prayers for the officer and his family.
Details on what prompted the shooting weren't immediately released, but Johnson acknowledged the shooting "could very well turn into a case of mistaken identity."
He said an investigation remained ongoing Wednesday and no offenders were in custody.
"I have no doubt that this officer has seen his share of gun violence while working in the 6th District," Johnson said. "Illegal guns have had a significant impact on a lot of neighborhoods in this city. Today the same violence has left one of our own clinging to life."
Anyone with information on the shooting is being asked to call Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8380 or submit tips anonymously at cpdtip.com
Check back for more on this developing story.