CHICAGO — An off-duty police officer fatally shot an alleged burglar in Lincoln Park late Saturday night, police said.
According to a statement from police, the officer saw the burglar trying to enter the second floor of an apartment building from a back stairway in the 1900 block of North Lincoln Avenue about 11:40 p.m.
When the officer told the burglar, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as Rickie Rozelle of Woodlawn, he was a cop and demanded the man come downstairs, the burglar — who had his hand in his waistband — refused, police said.
The officer ordered the burglar to show his hands and again asked him to come downstairs, cops said.
The burglar then allegedly pulled "a shiny object" from his waistband and ran toward the officer, who opened fire, fatally striking the man.
The 28-year-old Rozelle, of the 6100 block of South Cottage Grove, was pronounced dead on the scene at 12:21 a.m. Sunday.
"This is hitting way too close to home," said Brenda Hall, 47, who has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years. Hall said the shooting made her reevaluate how safe Lincoln Park actually is.
"I've been hearing a lot more about car break-ins," she said Sunday. "This is the first burglary I've heard of."
According to several neighbors, the building where the shooting and alleged burglary took place — a brick two-flat on a crowded street — is currently empty and undergoing renovations.
Wooden planks and assorted construction materials were visible on the back porch Sunday morning. A small strip of red police tape flapped at the gate.
"I’m pretty sure [the building] is vacant. I don’t know why they’d break in," said Jason Caruso, a 25-year-old who works at Rocco Ranalli's Pizza, 1925 N. Lincoln Ave.
Caruso said the alley where the shooting occurred is clearly visible from the Ranalli's outdoor patio, which was still serving guests late Saturday night.
The pizza deliveryman said he didn't understand why a burglar would try to enter the apartment building with so many possible witnesses. As he eyed the back porch Sunday morning, Caruso questioned the logistics.
"This story just doesn't sound right," Caruso said. "It's supposed to be the safest neighborhood in Chicago."
The officer involved was not injured, police said, and the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating.