A 15-year-old Lane Tech student who became an innocent victim of a gun battle between police and a bank robbery suspect was likely shot by a suburban officer's gunfire, Chicago authorities said Wednesday.
The teen was interning at a music school Tuesday evening in the Old Irving Park neighborhood when the dramatic scene unfolded outside the store.
Chicago police said Wednesday that the boy was was “likely” shot by a Des Plaines officer.
"It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that a current Lane Tech student was the innocent victim of a shooting incident yesterday, November 19," a message from Lane Tech principal Brian Tennison read. "He is in critical condition, but we cannot release the name at this time. We ask that the Lane community keep this family in our hearts. We will continue to update you as we get information."
The incident began as a bank robbery in suburban Des Plaines at around 4:30 p.m., according to police, who said officers responded to the scene and arrested one of two offenders who fled on foot. A second suspect evaded capture and later stole a couple’s car and drove into the city of Chicago, authorities said at a press conference Tuesday night.
The FBI along with Chicago and Des Plaines police tracked the suspect's whereabouts and officers waited for the suspect to exit the Kennedy Expressway at Irving Park Road.
Authorities said when the suspect realized he was being followed, he began firing at police vehicles, hitting one of the officers in the temple of his head. The 46-year-old officer, a 17-year veteran of the force, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center where he was listed in "serious but stable" condition, officials said.
The police pursuit continued before ending at the music school located in the 4200 block of Irving Park Road in the city's Old Irving Park neighborhood, Johnson said.
“The offender and the Des Plaines police officer then exchanged gunfire,” Johnson said. “The 32-year-old offender was fatally shot in the exchange.”
He was identified as 32-year-old Christopher Terrell Willis, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The 15-year-old bystander, who was at the music school at the time, was shot in the arm and in the abdomen and taken to an area children’s hospital, according to police.
“I visited with his mother and father last night," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday. "He was having surgery. The indications were, after surgery, he was in stable condition and will have an update."
"It’s obviously impossible for me not to think about his condition and the trauma to his family, in light of my own status as a mother and a person who cares about what happens in this city," she added.
UpBeat Music and Arts, the school where the teen was at when he became an innocent victim in the shootout, said the teen was interning at the store when he was hit.
"Class was session [sic] at the time, and all other students and staff were kept safe, thanks to the quick and courageous efforts of our teachers," the school wrote on its Facebook page.
The officer, who was shot in the head, saw bleeding on his brain subside and his condition was stabilized Wednesday, authorities said, one day after surgeons said the officer faced a "pivotal" 24 hours.
Chicago police said they were optimistic about the officer's recovery.
The FBI is currently investigating the bank robbery, while Des Plaines police are investigating the carjacking and the Chicago Police Department continues to investigate the shooting, officials said.