Off-Duty Cop Shoots Armed Carjacker In Chicago

A would-be carjacker on Chicago’s south side got an unwelcome surprise early Thursday morning when his intended victim pulled out a gun of his own and fired in self-defense, wounding the man and ending the threat.

According to CBS 2 in Chicago, the attempted carjacking actually involved multiple suspects, but only one armed citizen; an off-duty police officer who happened to be driving down an alley in the South Shores neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. when he was stopped by two or three assailants.

One offender displayed a gun and told the officer to get out of the car, before firing a shot.

The officer shot back, striking one of the offenders in the arm. Police located that offender in the lobby of a nearby building. The suspect was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center and was placed in custody.

Police are searching for the other offenders.

The victim is a law enforcement officer, but is not with the Chicago Police Department and he was not injured.

So far police haven’t released any information about the suspect in the attempted carjacking, which took place just days after Chicago reached a grim milestone: 500 homicides so far this year, which is a 66% increase over 2019. As the Chicago Tribune declared in a recent editorial, the mayhem in the city is out of control.

Recent Monday morning tallies of weekend violence have made for brutal reading. Ten people were killed, more than 40 wounded this past weekend. The Tribune identified 10 separate shootings, including three homicides, in just three hours or so starting Sunday at 2 a.m. In one incident, officers making a traffic stop were hit by gunfire and hospitalized. Ten Chicago police officers have been shot this year, 41 have been fired on.

What is happening in Chicago? Superintendent David Brown’s answer Monday was vague, because there is no simple explanation, and chilling. “Violent offenders have acted with impunity, much more than we’ve seen in the past,” said Brown, describing his first summer on the job. “There’s this sense of lawlessness among violent offenders.”

Chicago is not lawless, but mayhem feels like it’s spiraling out of control. The police chief and Mayor Lori Lightfoot aren’t running away from the problem. They know the city’s in the grip of something frightening and frustrating. Brown has reconstituted the department’s roving anti-gang task force and says he sees progress. Killings have decreased 50% and shootings have decreased 15% over the past six weeks. So this is … progress.
The reason for the sense of lawlessness among violent offenders is simple: far too many of them are getting away with their crimes. Clearance rates for homicides and shootings are well below 50%, and even when police do make arrests for things like robberies or other violent crimes, all too often judges in Cook County release the suspects on their own recognizance or incredibly low bail, quickly returning them back to the streets.

The number of criminal defendants freed on bail and ordered to wear electronic-monitoring bracelets has soared this year in Cook County, including more than 1,000 people charged with murder, robbery or illegal possession of guns, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis has found.

Police Supt. David Brown says many of those being set free on electronic monitoring are responsible for the steep rise in killings this year in Chicago.

On Aug. 9, 43 people facing murder charges were in the county’s electronic-monitoring program — 40% more than on the same day last year.

Also in the program were 160 people charged with robbery and about 1,000 charged with illegal gun possession — twice as many for those crimes as on Aug. 9, 2019.

Brown is correct in criticizing Cook County’s criminal justice system, but the truth is there’s plenty of blame to go around, from Mayor Lori Lightfoot on down. Until criminals in Chicago believe with good reason that there will be swift and certain consequences for their violence, they’ll continue to operate as if the law doesn’t exist.