CHICAGO - An off-duty Chicago police officer was shot in the face during an apparent road rage incident Tuesday afternoon on the Northwest Side.
The gunman fled the scene and was still on the loose Tuesday evening, officials said.
The shooting happened around 3:10 p.m. in the Irving Park neighborhood near Elston Avenue and Addison Street outside a Jiffy Lube service station.
"Here and really everywhere across this country, it seems personal conflicts have ended more and more with escalating violence," said Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. "It’s a concern of ours."
The off-duty probationary officer was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Brown said at a news conference.
"She is talking, she apparently did not lose consciousness," he said. "So thank goodness that she’s going to be able to recover."
According to police, the 27-year-old officer was traveling northbound on Elston Avenue when the vehicle in front of her came to an abrupt stop. The vehicle then reversed into the officer's car before the suspect pulled a gun and fired shots from within his vehicle into hers.
"We were allowed to drive by, when literally seconds later, squad cars came in from every direction. We were luckily able to come down Sawyer, through the alley to our home, and not even five minutes later, helicopters were circling around and I knew something was wrong," said Kathleen Bender, who lives nearby.
Bender had just picked up her daughter from school – when she came across the chaotic scene.
Neighbors, including Bender, are now concerned that such a brazen attack unfolded in the middle of the day, and in their usually quiet neighborhood.
"I’m not really afraid, I won’t live in fear, but it’s like what everybody says, until it hits home. It’s scary," said Bender.
Police said the violence didn’t stop with the shooting.
The offender fled the scene and as the suspect was making his getaway, he crashed into two CPD squad cars. Police shot at the suspect, but he managed to escape – ditching his SUV near Thorndale Avenue and Drake Avenue in Peterson Park.
A large police perimeter was set up Tuesday, with several businesses, including the Jiffy Lube service station, cordoned off with police tape for several hours.
Brown said police have the license plate of the suspect’s SUV but weren’t immediately releasing it to the media.
No passengers were in the car with the officer at the time of the shooting, Brown said.
No one is in custody.
On Wednesday, a Chicago police spokesperson confirmed to FOX 32 the female officer was relieved of her police powers on Sept. 17, before this shooting incident occurred. The reason for her being relieved of her powers has not been released.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.