Police officer among 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Chicago hospital shooting
Published : 20 Nov 2018, 11:25:39
A Chicago police officer and two others were killed by a gunman Monday at Mercy Hospital.
The shooter, who has not been identified, also was killed in the incident. A doctor and a pharmacy tech were the other victims, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
“It's with profound sadness that we share the death of PO Samuel Jimenez from tonight's senseless active shooter incident. Please pray for his family, his fellow officers & the entire #ChicagoPolice Department,” chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
The shooting on the city’s South Side happened around 3:20 p.m. It was not immediately clear whether the shooter took his own life or was killed by police.
The top prosecutor for the Chicago area, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, called the violence at the hospital senseless.
“The violence that occurred today at Mercy Hospital is horrific,” Foxx said on Twitter. “The County mourns the victims who lost their lives, including CPD Officer Samuel Jimenez for making the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of others. May we uplift the families of those harmed and our city.”
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the incident was spurred by a domestic altercation that started outside the hospital between the gunman and a female hospital employee.
An acquaintance of the woman arrived at the scene, and the gunman lifted his shirt, displaying a handgun. The acquaintance ran into the hospital and the gunman fired shots at the doctor, Johnson said.
Johnson said the gunman fired shots at Jimenez and another officer who had arrived at the scene before running into the hospital. Additional officers arrived at the scene and engaged the gunman for several minutes inside the hospital.
“During the exchange of gunfire, a female staff member was struck by gunfire,” Johnson said, referring to the pharmacy tech. “During that exchange one our officers ... was also fatally wounded by the offender. During the gunfire, the offender was also fatally wounded. It’s not clear right now if it was by police gunfire or if it was a self-inflicted wound.”
Jimenez, a father of three, joined the department in February 2016 and had just ended his required probationary term.
Emanuel called it a devastating moment for a city that for years has been mired by gun violence. Earlier in the day, the city celebrated the graduation of the newest class of 88 police officers and the promotion of 275 newly-minted detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, evidence technicians and field training officers.
“The city of Chicago lost a doctor, a pharmaceutical assistant, and a police officer all going about their day, all doing what they love,” Emanuel said. “This tears at the soul of our city.”
Another officer was hit by a bullet in his holster during the chaotic exchange but was not seriously injured, police said.
Kevin Graham, president of the Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police union, praised the fallen officer.
“Today, the Fraternal Order of Police lost a valued brother - a courageous police officer who got up this morning, went to work and wanted to protect the city of Chicago,” Graham said.
“He did just that, but he did so with his life.”
Johnson said he was certain the police’s quick response save many lives. Jimenez and his partner were not assigned to the call but responded anyway.
“Those officers who responded today saved a lot of lives,” Johnson said.
Steven White, a patient at the hospital who had been waiting to be discharged, said the shooting started near the emergency room entrance.
“It was, 'Pow, pow, pow,' '' said White, who was treated for dehydration at the hospital.
White said he could see through the window people lying on the ground. The gunman fired two shots at one person lying there, he said.
"You see stuff like this on TV, but to see someone so coldhearted,” White said. “It was like he had no remorse.”
The gunman ran into the building, and a police officer chased him. As bystanders took cover, White said, he heard the gunman fire half a dozen shots.
Pharmacist Joan Fortune said she and colleagues were talking to a patient near the emergency room entrance when the gunfire erupted.
A technician immediately pulled down security shutters and barricaded several employees and bystanders in their work area.
“We heard more gunshots and arguing,'' Fortune said. “We stayed barricaded for about 30 minutes until the police (arrived), and we ran out a back (exit).”
Monique Hubbard, a technician in the pharmacy, said she heard several gunshots before she and others barricaded themselves.
“At one point, we could hear him shake the security shutters,” Hubbard said.
Chicago recorded 762 murders in 2016 and 650 in 2017. The city had recorded 488 murders for 2018 as of Nov. 11, more than any other U.S. city but an 18 percent decline from last year.
Mercy Hospital and Medical Center is a 292-bed surgical Catholic teaching hospital that was established in 1852.-USA Today