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Crime & Mayhem

Attackers Shot 2 Police Officers They Mistook For Gang Rivals, Police Say

May 7, 2017 12:17pm | Updated May 8, 2017 8:45am
Angel Gomez, 18, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, police said. Gomez was the driver of a car that was used in the shooting of two Chicago Police officers, police said.
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Courtesy Chicago Police Department

CHICAGO — An 18-year-old man has been charged in the shooting of two Chicago Police officers last week, police said.

Angel Gomez, 18, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi wrote on Twitter. Police said Gomez drove a car used in the shooting, and officers are looking for other people they say were connected to the shooting.

"Please know that whether you're in Chicago, Charlotte, Los Angeles, you'll have to spend these next few days consistently, constantly, looking over your shoulder," Supt. Eddie Johnson said during a Sunday news conference. "Because know this: We are coming to bring you to justice, and you will answer for your actions."

Area Central Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan said Tuesday a 15-year-old boy was shot while a passenger in an SUV near 20th and Halsted streets. The car went to Halsted Street and Archer Avenue and called 911 and the boy was taken to a hospital.

Officers believed the other people who were in the SUV were La Raza gang members, and followed them in an unmarked police van. Officers were concerned the gang members might retaliate, Deenihan said.

The officers lost track of the SUV and, while in the 4300 block of South Ashland Avenue, decided to go back to their station. That's when a stolen minivan came up from behind them and someone inside the minivan fired shots at police in their covert van, Deenihan said. The shots hit the police van's gas tank.

As the police van ran out of gas and began to stop, the stolen minivan came to the side of it and someone opened the minivan's side door and fired shots from a "high-powered rifle," Deenihan said. The bullets went all the way through the SUV.

"It's actually quite remarkable, and obviously everyone's thankful, that the officers were not killed," Deenihan said.

The minivan then drove in front of the police van, and the officers, though wounded, fired through their windshield at the minivan, Deenihan said. They hit the minivan and the driver drove away, going to 38th and Racine.

The attackers ditched the minivan there because it had flat tires, Deenihan said, and the shooter and driver got out and ran away. The shooter, with the rifle, ran to a wooded area and hid the gun. A police dog later found the rifle buried there — possibly so the attackers could come back and get it later, Deenihan said.

Investigators spoke to La Raza gang members and found out the shooters opened fire because they thought the police officers were rival gang members, Deenihan said, and Gomez confessed to his role in the shooting.

One officer was hit in his arm and hip and the other officer in his back during the shooting. They were hospitalized but have been released and are recovering.

"Being a police officer is not easy, and last Tuesday night was a classic example of how difficult and dangerous this job can be," Johnson said.

Police released images of the SUV the officers were in, showing the sides of it and a passenger-side window riddled with bullet holes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the officers lived because they were wearing bulletproof vests.

There has been "quite a few shootings" in the area, Johnson said, in part because there is not a "culture of accountability." He again called on lawmakers to push for legislation that would dole out harsher punishments for repeat gun offenders.