Off-duty cop shot

Sun Times Wire

Police Searching For 2 Wanted In River North Killing Of Off-Duty CPD Officer

March 23, 2019 - 10:40 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed in an apparently random shooting that also critically wounded one of his friends early Saturday when they returned to their car after a night out on the town in River North.

Detectives were questioning one person of interest in the shooting that left 23-year-old Officer John P. Rivera dead, but police were still searching for at least two others — including the shooter who remained at large Saturday afternoon.

“What we know about this incident so far is just really disgusting,” Supt. Eddie Johnson said at Chicago police headquarters. “Mark my words: we will find them.”

Rivera, a Gresham District patrolman who would have marked two years on the force in May, went to the popular nightlife district with a fellow male officer after they finished their Friday night shift, Johnson said.

They left the Stout Barrel House with two friends, a man and woman, and got into a Honda Civic parked in the 700 block of North Clark about 3:30 a.m., according to police.

That’s when at least three unknown males walked up to the car, and without exchanging words, one of them pulled out a gun to fire shots into the car before they ran away, police said.

Surveillance video showed the shooter’s group targeted the off-duty officers’ car, and Johnson said the shooting “appears to be random.”

Nothing was taken from the people in the car, and police said the two groups didn’t seem to have encountered each other earlier in the night.

“This appears to be an unprovoked attack against a group of individuals who went out to unwind on a Friday night,” he said.

Officers on patrol nearby heard the gunfire, saw people running and responded within seconds, police said. They immediately stopped two people, one of whom was released.

Rivera, a Hegewisch resident, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds to the chest, arm and mouth, authorities said. He was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

The 23-year-old man sitting behind Rivera in the car, who is not an officer, was shot in the chest and arms, police said. He was in critical “but stable” condition, and he underwent surgery Saturday morning.

The other off-duty officer and woman in the car were not hurt, police said.

During his Friday night shift, Rivera had handled the paperwork on a murder case, and he “helped console a family on an unthinkable loss,” Johnson said.

Rivera had also ridden along with Johnson’s son, a fellow officer in the Gresham District where the superintendent started his own career.

Detectives were still poring through hours of more video from the area of the shooting, which is awash with surveillance cameras.

Johnson lamented the loss of a young patrolman who was “very excited, very eager to serve,” with “his whole life and career in front of him.”

“He’s the kind of officer that we want in Chicago, a hard worker who loved going out on patrol and solving problems,” Johnson said. “When you first come on you want to make a difference, that’s why you take this job.”

Shortly before 8 a.m., Chicago firefighters raised the American flag over Harrison Street outside the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, as a procession of police vehicles drove westbound followed the ambulance carrying Rivera’s body to the medical examiner’s office.

Officers exited their vehicles and entered the grounds with the firefighters to hold a moment of remembrance.

“It’s a very sad day, we’re mourning the loss of another Chicago police officer,” Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said Saturday morning outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital, adding that, despite the department’s sadness, “every man from the Chicago Police Department will go out and do their job” today.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2019. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)