Three Chicago police officers are recovering from wounds they suffered on Tuesday morning after a shootout with a suspect who was shot dead during a chase through a dimly lit courtyard in the Homan Square neighborhood on the West Side, authorities said.
Reuters reported that the officers were investigating possible narcotics activity at about 9:40 p.m. when they encountered two suspects and chased one of them into a dark gangway between two buildings, the Chicago Police Department said.
“At some point, the offender fired shots at pursuing officers,” it said in a statement. “At least one officer involved in the pursuit was able to return fire, fatally striking the offender.”
One of the pursuing officers was shot in the back, another injured in the foot and a third shot in the chest area, possibly striking a bullet-proof vest, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing sources.
The officers were being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a nearby hospital, the police department said.
“Tonight we were reminded of the dangers that our police face, and the bravery that they routinely display,” the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
The Officer Down Memorial Page shows that 2011 was the last time a Chicago police officer died in the line of duty.
Eight people were fatally shot and 22 wounded by Chicago police in 2015. In 2014, 37 people were shot and 16 people were killed by police gunfire in Chicago, the Tribune said.
The incident comes amid a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the department’s use of force, including deadly force, following the death of a black teenager in a 2014 police shooting.
Police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in November, 13 months after having shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, in an incident captured on a police squad car dashboard video.
The release of the video sparked protests and led to the firing of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in December. The city has yet to find a permanent replacement.