Two Chicago police officers shot while breaking up crowd following 4th of July gathering

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CHICAGO, IL – Two Chicago police officers were shot and wounded on the city’s west side early Monday while trying to break up a crowd following Fourth of July gatherings, authorities said.

Superintendent David Brown said the officers were attempting to disperse a crowd that was setting off fireworks in the 100 block of North Long Avenue in the Austin neighborhood around 1:45 when gunfire erupted.

Police said a female commander and a male sergeant were on patrol when police said they tried to disperse a large crowd shooting fireworks. The officers heard gunshots and felt pain. Neither officer saw the shooter or shooters.

The commander was struck in the foot and the sergeant was shot in the leg. Both officers were transported to Stroger Hospital for treatment. The officers were listed in good condition.

Superintendent Brown was unsure if the shots were random or targeted:

“As you know, there’s been a lot of large crowd gatherings tonight, a lot of celebratory fireworks going off, kind of spontaneous.

“They were dispersing a crowd when they heard shots and felt pain. Not sure if they targeted or whether this was people celebrating shooting in the air, shooting indiscriminately.”

In a social media post later in the morning, Superintendent Brown said of the officers:

“Thankfully, they will be all right.”

A witness who spoke to ABC 7 News described what they saw:

“They (the officers) were standing by one car, and there was a loud pop, and everyone started running and the police officer fell to the ground… And then the other police officer had … and everyone was screaming… someone was screaming ‘they shot the police officer, they shot the police officer.”

Investigators are searching for witnesses and any video that may have captured the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to contact their local police.

The shooting about 1:45 a.m. on the city’s West Side happened less than an hour after a drive-by shooting in Washington Park on the city’s Southside left two people dead and four others wounded.

Between Friday night and Monday morning, a total of 12 people have been killed by gun violence in the city.  At least 40 more people were wounded in shootings in Chicago during the same time period. Final totals for the weekend will not be released until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend.

Chicago has suffered a spike in gun violence this year and 33 Chicago police officers have been either shot or shot at since January 1.  Last year at this time, 22 officers were shot or shot at.

Another concerning figure shows that mass shootings are becoming an epidemic in the “Windy City”. In the Washington Park shooting, police said two men died, a 12-year-old girl was in critical condition, a 13-year-old boy was in stable condition and a woman was in good condition.

Another woman was treated for a grazing bullet wound at the scene.

There have been no arrests in the mass shooting.

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Chicago officer who shot gun-wielding Anthony Alvarez fired months after shooting

July 2, 2021

 

 CHICAGO, IL – Chicago police officer Evan Solano has been terminated for firing shots that killed 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez in March who was holding a gun, officials confirmed Monday.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended two months ago that Officer Solano have his gun and badge taken from him after the shooting death of Alvarez in Portage Park. 

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown was asked why it took three months to strip the officer’s powers after the COPA made the recommendation. He said that he requested additional information from COPA before acting. 

Although not stripped of his powers, the officer has been on administrative leave since the March 31 shooting, standard practice in an officer-involved shooting. He has not been criminally charged with any crime involving the shooting.

Alvarez was fatally shot by Solano during a foot pursuit. Police said at the time that Alvarez was armed with a handgun during the incident.

 

Video shows  22-year-old Alvarez fleeing from police with his back turned, appearing to have a gun when Solano fatally shot him.

John Catanzara, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, defended the officer’s actions, saying he followed proper police policy:

“The rules of engagement are clear and this officer followed them.”

COPA released body camera video of the shooting. In two graphic videos, each more than 12 minutes long, a pair of officers, including Solano, are engaged in a foot pursuit of Alvarez.

One video is from Solano’s body camera, and the second video is from a surveillance camera that captured the shooting.

Alvarez trips while rounding a corner. Solano can be heard on the video shouting, ”Drop the gun! Drop the gun!”

The officer then fired his sidearm five times, striking Alvarez, who appeared to then drop a gun.

Alvarez can be heard on the video saying. “Why are you shooting me?”

Saolano responds, “You had a gun!”

Alvarez remained conscious for about 15 seconds after the shooting, and could be heard telling officers, “I’m gonna die.”

Officers attempted to provide medical care for Alvarez, with the officer telling him:

“I’m trying to help you. Stay with me, dude.”

In a summary of the incident released shortly after the shooting, COPA wrote:

“Mr. Alvarez fled as officers approached, leading to a foot pursuit by the officers. During the brief foot pursuit, officers made verbal commands to Mr. Alvarez to drop the weapon. A Chicago Police Officer fired his weapon multiple times, fatally injuring Mr. Alvarez.”

In an extraordinary change from normal protocol, COPA recommended that the officer “be relieved of police powers during the pendency of this investigation.”

COPA did not explain the reason for calling for stripping the officer of his powers so early in the investigation. Normally, an officer would be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation involving a police shooting.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) criticized the COPA for releasing to the media the recommendation to strip Solano of his police powers during the investigation before sending it to Brown.

The criticism led to the resignation of COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts in May.

Solano was the subject of a second investigation following a road rage incident on May 21, which was captured on video by a bystander.

Video of the incident shows a man, who appears to be Solano, in a police uniform holding a gun in his hand arguing with another man standing several feet away at an intersection.

Prompted by the shooting of Alvarez and the shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in another unrelated incident, Chicago has instituted a new foot pursuit policy. 

Under the police department’s new interim policy, a foot pursuit is only considered appropriate if there is probable cause for an arrest, or if an individual has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime or endanger the public.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement:

“Because foot pursuits are one of the most dangerous actions that police officers can engage in, we cannot afford to wait any longer to put a policy in place that regulates them.”

 

 

 

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