Driver shot dragging Chicago-area police officer
CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago police officer has been released from hospital after being dragged by a car driven by a fleeing Thanksgiving Day shoplifting suspect, police said Friday.
Another police officer fired at the 52-year-old driver, who remained hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his arm following the Thursday night incident at a Kohl’s department store in Romeoville, the Romeoville Police Department said in a statement. The suburb is about 30 miles southwest of Chicago.
The store reported suspected shoplifters to police just after 10 p.m. Thursday. As a patrol approached the store, one suspect bolted out a door, officers giving chase to a waiting car. As the one suspect jumped into a passenger seat, he closed the door on the officer’s arm and the driver drove off — hauling the officer with him.
“The officer was dragged quite some distance,” Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey said at an earlier news conference.
Another officer repeatedly yelled at the driver to halt, then opened fire, shooting three or four times, striking the driver with one bullet in the left arm and forcing him to stop, police said. The officer who became stuck in the car injured his right soldier.
The driver, the 51-year-old passenger and a 28-year-old suspect inside the store were arrested. As of Friday charges were still pending against the men, all of whom are from nearby Joliet.
There were no reports of any injuries to shoppers hunting for deals ahead of Black Friday.
The Chicago Sun-Times said the store was still open early Friday hours after the incident and that people were shopping inside while a small portion of a fire lane was taped off outside with several police cars nearby.
Kohl’s spokeswoman Sydney Hofer declined any detailed comment in an email Friday.
“We are cooperating with the authorities leading the investigation and are referring all media inquiries to police,” Hofer said.
Monica Fernandez, 41, of Romeoville, told the Sun-Times she had just pulled into the lot and was getting ready to shop Thursday night when she saw police chasing a man and heard gunshots.
“I ducked under my seat,” Fernandez said. “It’s crazy. Romeoville doesn’t’ have a lot of crime like that.”
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