CHICAGO - A carjacking suspect being led into a Chicago police station on Thursday shot three officers who then returned fire and shot him, authorities said.
The officers and the gunman were rushed to area hospitals, police spokesman Tom Ahern said. One of the officers was shot in the neck and a breathing tube had to be inserted, according to a doctor at the hospital where he was taken. Ahern said another was shot in the chest but was wearing a bulletproof vest, and the third suffered a graze wound to his hip.
Police also said two other officers were taken to a hospital to be treated for chest pains.
The suspect opened fire as the officers were walking him from a police vehicle into a police station on the city’s Northwest Side, said Ahern.
“They were bringing him to the station when the offender was able to fire shots at the officers and they returned fire,” he said.
Sources say the handcuffed suspect was carrying a gun that apparently was not caught during a pat down. Suspects are routinely searched for weapons before they are placed in police vehicles.
About 60 shots were exchanged during the two-minute gun battle.
Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters that the suspect was wanted in connection with a June 26 carjacking in downtown Chicago. He said officers identified the stolen vehicle on Thursday morning, followed it and then took the driver into custody.
Authorities haven’t released the names of the officers or the alleged assailant. Two of the officers who were shot were treated at Loyola Medical Center and have been released. The officer who was the most seriously injured, who is a 17-year patrol veteran, was treated at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and has been upgraded from critical condition to stable.
Police did not have any details on the condition of the suspect.
A key question will be how the suspect was able to hide his gun from the police.
"When they leave home, they leave their loved ones and put the stars on and risk everything. They risk everything protecting all of us,” Supt. Brown said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the shooting on Twitter, saying: "Today is a searing reminder of the danger our men and women of our Police Department face every day they put on their uniforms... and leave their homes. This is the sacrifice they make in order to serve and protect our city."
In June, a Chicago police officer was shot in the knee after approaching a suspect in Bronzeville on the South Side, police said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.