CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A suburban police officer is recovering Thursday after he was shot possibly with his own gun outside a grocery store.
The officer was struggling with a shoplifting suspect in front of the Ultra Foods in Lansing when he was shot. Employees in other stores nearby heard the shooting and immediately locked their doors.
“I was ringing a customer up and I heard a customer come into the store saying a shooting, a shooting, a shooting, so of course we all ran to see what it was,” said witness Nadeja Holloway.
The shooting unfolded in dramatic fashion in the parking lot outside the Ultra Foods. A woman in a store near where the suspect was shot and killed captured the aftermath with some unconfirmed claims.
“His hands were raised and there's the cop right over here on the ground that he beat up. And he took his gun,” the woman said.
The suspect has been identified as 43-year-old Warren Christian, according to police and the Lake County coroner’s office.
Christian; of the 500 block of West 144th Street in East Chicago, Indiana; was taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond, where he was pronounced dead at 4:26 p.m., authorities said.
Police say it all started when the shoplifter was confronted by a Lansing officer, and then took off running across the shopping center parking lot. Then, things escalated into much more than a simple arrest.
“A Lansing police office caught up with the suspect and a struggle ensued, during the struggle the suspect shot the officer in the lower leg and continued to flee,” said Lansing spokesman Fabian Newman.
“So then I saw a policeman on the ground, but I didn't see the guy that shot him so I guess he ran off or something, then like a few seconds later I heard pow pow pow, so I guess they got him,” Holloway added.
A police source says the suspect refused to put his hands up and was still holding the wounded officer's gun when he was shot.
Shoppers were just left shaking their heads at the chaos caused by someone stealing from a grocery store.
“Groceries, that's just like sad cause he's hungry I guess, I don't know but it's just sad and I just can't believe it happened right here,” said shopper Courtney Kimes.
As police continue to investigate, their attention is focused on what happened, and any security video that might have captured what happened, and also the wounded officer.
“We're concerned about him and his well-being and do everything to take care of him first we'll worry about when he returns to work and all that later,” said Lansing Police Chief Dennis Murrin Jr.
The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Unit will handle the investigation into whether the use of force was justified or not.