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Firefighter Shot in 'Classic Case of Suicide By Cop,' Officials Say

By  Darryl Holliday and Kyla Gardner | July 11, 2013 2:07pm | Updated on July 11, 2013 5:30pm

 The man was shot after what appeared to be "a classic case of suicide by cop," officials said.
The man was shot after what appeared to be "a classic case of suicide by cop," officials said.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

MOUNT GREENWOOD — Police shot a "despondent" firefighter in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood Thursday afternoon, officials said.

The man, who was on "medical leave," was shot at about 1 p.m. near 103rd Street and Pulaski Road, said Pat Camden, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police.

According to Camden, the initial call to police came from the man's wife, who was on the phone with him while he was sitting in a black Ford SUV in the parking lot of a CVS. When police arrived, the man remained silently in his vehicle before he "made the sign of the cross, flung the door open and got into combat position" with what appeared to police to be a weapon.

"To me, this is a classic case of suicide, or attempted suicide, by cop," Camden said from the crime scene, adding that, as the man was being lifted away on a stretcher, he told police, "Thank you for doing what you had to do."

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said officers tried to coax the man out of his vehicle without success. He was "highly agitated," and when he exited the vehicle, he ran towards and officer, took a "shooting stance," and pointed a dark object at the officer, McCarthy said.

A gun wasn't found at the scene, according to Camden, though the man's wife informed police that he did own one.

Before he was shot by police, the man told his wife that "he couldn't take it anymore," Camden said.

Fire officials could not verify Camden's statements.

The man was hit several times and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in serious condition, fire officials said.

While the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the man's death, officials backtracked Thursday afternoon, and said the man was still alive.

No one else was injured in the shooting, in which at least six shots appeared to have been fired.