CHICAGO — A dispute between neighbors led to the shooting death of an elderly man by an off-duty Chicago police officer Friday, officials said.
The man's wife and the officer's wife were also wounded in the incident, which took place in the 8400 block of South Carpernter Avenue Friday afternoon.
"A great American tragedy," said Fratneral Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden.
Camden said the officer's wife and an elderly neighbor were arguing with each other over their fence when the elderly woman began throwing dirt across the fence.
The off-duty officer came to the back of the house to calm the situation, Camden said, when the neighbor yelled to her husband to "get that thing."
The husband, who was later identified as 86-year-old Joe Huff Jr., emerged with a shotgun, and fired it, hitting the officer's wife in the upper chest and shoulder, Camden said. The officer, "defending his wife and self, opens fire," fatally striking the man, Camden said.
Huff was pronounced dead on the scene at 2:50 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
Then the man's wife reached for the shotgun, as the officer told her not to pick it up. When she grabbed the gun, he fired, wounding her, Camden said.
"It's something that could have been totally avoided. Completely unnecessary," he said. "Now [the officer} has to live with the fact that he killed this guy defending his wife."
Fire officials said two women were shot about 2:15 p.m. They were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with "non-life threatening injuries," said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said it had been notified that a man thought to be in his 80s was dead at that location.
Police confirmed "police activity" in the area, but could not say if a shooting took place. The police investigation "could take some time," said Officer Thomas Sweeney, a police spokesman. He said the Police Department would issue a statement Friday.