Scene of off-duty cop [purported] defensive gun use (courtesy chicagotribune.com)

“The incident began at about noon today when the off-duty officer was at his home with his child when he did not respond to his doorbell and a knock on the door,” chicagotribune.com. “Believing that it was a solicitor, the officer ignored the people but noticed that after not responding, a van parked in front of his home sped off, returned and parked on the side of the home . . . At that point, the officer began to hear noises in the front of his home and heard someone trying to push open the front door . . . The officer told his child to hide in a bedroom and he called 911 to report that people were trying to break in, police and Camden said.” Did he? Did he really? Maybe he did. But here’s something else the unnamed officer did that seems a tad questionable . . .

After seeing the frame of the home giving way he went outside the side of the home and spotted the men trying to break in. As the homeowner walked around his home, he saw one of the men running north on Princeton Avenue after he was spotted . . .

Another man ran around the home and appeared to have a gun in his hand and began pointing it at the off-duty officer, said [Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Patrick] Camden and police. The off-duty officer, who was armed, shot at the suspect and hit him.

Whenever a cop says a suspect “appeared to have a gun in his hand” my BS detector screams bloody murder. The fact that the wounded man was shot in the back doesn’t do much in terms of silencing said alarm.

Don’t get me wrong. A bad guy can turn around just as an armed defender fires, resulting in a back wound. And as sure as eggs are eggs, the off-duty cop is the good guy in this story, regardless of the exact circumstances of the shooting. But . . .

If it was you or me who shot a burglar in the back in Chicago, we’d be arrested, have our name in the papers and face a criminal investigation. That’s all I’m sayin’ . . . [h/t VE]

101 Responses to Off-Duty Chicago Cop Shoots Burglar Who “Appeared to Have a Gun in His Hand’

    • This is true. Starting with: the off-duty officer armed himself, walked outside of the house with his weapon drawn (open carry) and confronted the “alleged” burglars. Both “alleged” burglars attempted to flee and one was shot in the back.

      Whether or not the “alleged” comes off the burglary charge, any non-LEO in Chicagoland who made this series of actions would be facing serious courtroom time, legal expenses and probably a new and unsavory roommate.

      1) Outside of residence with a drawn pistol
      2) Brandishing said pistol
      3) Firing said pistol at “alleged” criminals who were NOT posing a credible and imminent threat of death or sever physical harm
      4) Firing a deadly weapon at a fleeing “alleged” criminal

      A prosecutor’s wet dream. Except for the Off-Duty LEO part.

      • It’s why they always say, once you shoot someone, make sure you drag the body inside across the threshold. Going out into the yard isn’t exactly standing your ground in a defensive posture, and shooting someone in the back is like going on the aggressive. It no longer rings of Defensive Gun Use.

        Still, all in all, the dudes weren’t there to sell Girl Scout cookies. If I was a juror, I’d probably still let the guy off, but with a good dope slap.

        • Dragging a body is one way to pretty much make sure you spend time in prison. CSI isn’t magic like on TV, but they can tell a body has been moved.

        • Yeah, that’s great advice. How do you plan to drag a body into your house and not leave any evidence that you did so? Think your neighbors won’t take a peek out the window when they hear the shots? That’s a damn fine way to end up in prison. Even if it was a completely legal self defense shooting, the moment you start moving evidence (ie, the body) you can expect to be charged. In NC, and I’m sure it’s similar in most states, there is no duty to retreat whatsoever if you are on your own property. That includes the home itself and any property you own/rent/lease. Perhaps you should ask a local LEO, judge, or attorney what their thoughts are on “dragging them inside”.

        • He already shot it before this incident I would imagine. It was trying to play with him and he wasn’t going to be bit again.

      • Cliff you need to check on some of your facts. Here’s the main one that you got wrong; there hasn’t been one single Chicago resident charged with murder for a DGU in well over thirty years. Chicago and Cook County prosecutors did not ever want someone having a chance to appeal a conviction in Federal Court and overturn a decision based on a violation of the 2A. There was even one convicted felon who shot and killed a burglar who was charged for the shooting only for possession of a firearm by a felon but even those charges were dropped before trial.

        The Chicago/Cook County prosecutors worse nightmare did happen when a senior, Mary Shepard sued the Attorney General for a 2A violation when she was beaten almost to death by a parolee wile she was working in her downstate church. Shepard v. Madigan was combined with Moore v Madigan which resulted in the concealed carry law in Illinois exactly what the Chicago machine had been trying to prevent for years.

        It’s great to pass on all the horror stories that you hear but try to make sure they have a smidgen of truth. And by the way? Attempting to make forced entry into an occupied home in order to commit a felon cvan be met with lethal force in Illinois. We actually have some great DGU laws that protect citizens here…and off duty police officers.

    • A burglar who was trying to break into a house with kids in it… and you’re calling who the predator here?

      • The guy who had time to arm himself, circle around the house, identify 2 suspects, one who immediately fled, then shot the other guy in the back. In Texas this is of course totally justified, 2 guys breaking in your door on your property with a kid in the house. No jury would convict you here, and I seriously doubt many of the DA’s would even try it.

        BUT, this is in Chicago, where there are separate rules for the ruling class and the peasants. Were he not law enforcement, he would be getting charged with murder right now by a Chicago DA. He would be in a jail cell, his FOID would be revoked, his guns would be confiscated, his child would be in protective custody, and he would probably be fired from his peasant job for being a violent criminal.

        It may be a good shoot, but without that badge he would likely be destroyed by the Chicago machine to set an example. Thats why people are complaining.

      • I do question why he went outside and left his kids inside. I mean, what if just about the time he got outside and started heading around the side of the house they managed to break in? I think I would be in a defensive position with my child covered yelling my head off I’ve got a gun don’t come in or I’ll shoot. Or would that be a mistake?

  1. As I was reading the headline, my brain jumped ahead and I thought it was going to say, “Off-Duty Chicago Cop Shoots Citizen With Concealed Carry License Who Appeared to Have a Gun in His Hand”

    Thankfully that was NOT the headline and it did not happen.

  2. Well, usually I am in agreement, but I think the officer needs some consideration on this. Most of us would have done the same thing, reported the facts in our favor, and played it exactly as the officer played it. Regardless of my hate for the difference in the way that it would have been treated had it been a non LEO, I cannot condemn this officer’s behavior or reaction. I feel that is a little too vindictive based on the information available to me. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that he defended his property and family, and I can give him some solid approval for that.

    • I fail to see that it’s gone “vindictive”, so far. If the circumstances and the story don’t seem to parallel one another, it’s not inappropriate to ask some questions.

      But I don’t have a problem with your point of view on this.

  3. Suicide. No doubt about it. I once saw a guy who stabbed himself in the back 3 times, hit himself over the head with a club, and threw himself in front of a truck. Worst case of suicide I ever saw.

    • Was this someone who had the goods on the Clintons in Arkansas? 😀

      Some of them cut both of their arms and legs off, than shot themselves. (OK, maybe an illustrative exaggeration, but you get the picture).

      According the the State Medical Examiner, one cut his own head off….

    • The way I heard it was that this dude was found down by the river with 20 ft. of heavy black iron chain wrapped around him, and 18 bullet holes in him.
      Sheriff said it was the worse case of suicide he’d ever seen!

  4. If it was you or me who shot a burglar in the back in Chicago, we’d be arrested, have our name in the papers and face a criminal investigation. That’s all I’m sayin’ . . .

    Legally, a LEO, off duty or otherwise, has no more authority for justified use of deadly force than you or I.

    If only that were true. Still, nothing would have happened at all if the scumbag hadn’t tried breaking in. So, there’s that. The scumbag(s) bear nearly 100% responsibility for putting the sequence of events in motion.

    • I’m not sure a LEO who is on-duty has any more justification for use of deadly force than you or I. It all boils down to a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury, for yourself or for a third party. I know way back cops were held to be justified in shooting fleeing felons, but that day is past.

  5. Or, ordinary working folks who just happen to know how to give a statement and have a professional reputation for being reasonable and honest.

  6. If things didn’t play out like you hypothesize in your last paragraph, you’d probably post the incident as a DGUOTD..

    Sometimes the cops aren’t the bad guys.

    I do agree that there is often a disparity as far as how OIS vs everyday public defensive shootings are handled, here in the Detroit area we have seen lots of DGUs lately, with no charges pressed, and the home owners seemingly allowed to keep the weapon used (see the case of the lady with the Hi-Point carbine vs teens, she was showing the firearm to reporters)

    Regardless of cop or not, I can think of exactly one absolute that would have kept the guy from suffering a GSW to any part of his body…:Don’t break into anyone’s home.

  7. One of the perks of the job! Between being able to shoot at will and speed with little fear of consequences, I often regret not going into “law” enforcement…

    • You would have had to pick your jurisdiction very carefully. Most LEO’s in most departments don’t have occasion to fire their sidearm. In mine no officer has fired a shot in years (pop.+27,000).

      If you missed signing up for the job in Detroit, well, you just haven’t thought this through.

    • “If it was you or me who shot a burglar in the back IN CHICAGO, we’d be arrested, have our name in the papers and face a criminal investigation. That’s all I’m sayin’ ”

      Reading Is Fundamental!

  8. I read one version of this report that mentioned that the BG was shot in the back and in the next paragraph it said that he had been shot in the shoulder.

    Double standard or not, he won’t be breaking into my granny’s house anytime soon.

  9. Even as a po-po this guy did some stuff wildly wrong IMHO.

    First, having a badge doesn’t put eyes in the back of your head. An officer I worked with was shot and killed by a BG who was behind him while my co-worker held another BG at gunpoint. One GG vs two BGs is very bad. That is why uniformed guys tend to respond in multiples. Don’t start wandrring around your property when you have no idea who, how many and where the BGs are.

    Second, he abandoned his kid in the house instead of providing immediate protection to him. Like Clint Smith says :two is one and one is none. It applies to people also. You have to think what if YOU become jammed/inoperable.

  10. Police all over this great land of ours do seem to have a problem differentiating between guns, cell phones, combs, iPads and Pop Tarts, don’t they?

    Well, no dogs were shot during the making of this movie, so there’s that. Anyway, the BG made a furtive movement, which is defined in the cop manual as “breathing.”

    Based on the current rules of engagement, the cop was entitled to do anything and everything within his power to go home safely, even if he was already there.

  11. If this was a regular citizen those of you who are “asking “questions” would be praising the homeowner for defending his family and property. And a police officer has the legal authority to act as a LEO 24/7. They are never off duty only not at work.

    • The people here aren’t saying the officer did anything wrong, just lamenting the incredibly different set of rules they live by. Again, not that the cop shouldn’t have been allowed to shoot the man, but the aftermath. No arrest, no massive, money-draining trial, no nothing. Again, us and them.

    • Actually. many of us are saying the officer did a LOT of things wrong – see my comment above.

      What we are lamenting is that there will be none of the legal repercussions for his mistakes that would have fallen heavily on any non-LEO who had acted in the same manner.

      Stupid is as stupid does and he should face the same consequences he would have dropped on any non-LEO if he were the officer responding to the call.

    • I think it was probably a good shoot, I’m not going to second guess a parent protecting his kid. People are annoyed because if he was a regular citizen he would be getting reamed by the Chicago machine for proving them wrong and not taking his quota of social justice like a man.

  12. I think he went wrong when he went outside. I would think it would be better to wait by the door they were attempting to breech. Much easier to explain two dead bodies that were in your foyer than a perp with a single gunshot in his back.

  13. As long as there were signs of the attempted break in, I’d write it off as civic improvement. How’d you feel if you scared off a burglar or someone attempting to car jack, then find out they did it again with a really bad outcome?

  14. Just saw this story on the local Chicago news. The natives are rioting on 63rd & ghetto. I don’t blame them. What a BS shoot. The COP will probably have to move. NOT saying the young thug was innocent. This area (& the Westside) is the Worst part of Chicago. Maybe all of America. This AIN’T TEXAS either. Maybe I’m clueless but I can’t understand why this cop even lives there. Much better neighborhoods only a few miles away. Yep all the reports say he shot him in the back. And they always point a gun.

    • In Chicago (I grew up there) many people bought nice single family homes years ago. Many of those homes are now paid for, BUT the neighborhood is now less than savory. Along with all the other problems in the housing markets it is nearly impossible to sell a house in those types of “communities” without taking a huge loss, so many people with homes already paid for try to tough it out. Perhaps this fellow thought that it was known in the neighborhood that he was a cop and that he would be left alone because of that.

      • Well, there’s always the “providential fire” that permits you to move. That happened in NY a few times.

  15. And speaking of major US cities, I have to spend the next three days in New Friggin’ York. If anybody’s got any survival tips, I’d love to hear them.

    • Don’t act like a douche – be nice.
      Don’t ever look anyone (man, woman or child) in the eye. That’s a challenge.
      Don’t dress like a tourist.
      Leave all the cash, return tickets and credit cards that you don’t immediately need in the hotel safe.

      When I traveled I used to split up the excess cash into one or two envelopes, address them to myself, and put a stamp on them. Just writing home – greetings from Las Vegas…

      • “When I traveled I used to split up the excess cash into one or two envelopes, address them to myself, and put a stamp on them. Just writing home – greetings from Las Vegas…”

        I don’t understand this. Why didn’t you just leave the excess cash at home in the first place?

    • Mainuh, Manhattan’s crime (even taking into account that the cops are cooking the books) is extremely low in the likely tourist locations. Don’t worry about it.

      Just stay away from stupid locations at stupid times and you will automatically be far away from stupid people doing stupid things.

      • Ralph, if you walk around with a “Rob me, I’m a tourist” shirt on, you are going to get robbed wherever you are.

  16. 62rd & Princeton has been f##ked up for many years. I also lived in the city for 6 years. In the 1980s. You move & take a loss. Chicago cops are fairly well paid.

    • I lived in the Gold Coast for five years. Even there, you have to pay pretty close attention on the street as the subway stations make it convenient for the thugs to branch out.

      Watch for things to get interesting on the Mag Mile, Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach, and River North again when it starts to warm up.

  17. Chicago is such a shit hole. I know if I shot a burglar in the back outside, they’d arrest me. Now being a cop, oh well, that’s different then.
    BTW , I live in Spokane.

  18. I enjoy TTAC and the comments people leave. However I do not like when we gun owners personally attack each others comments, due to differing opinions. I mean, who’s side are some of you guys on? Just MHO.

  19. “Off duty” or “on duty” doesn’t really matter, the cops have been shooting people at an ever increasing rate all over. Here in Alabama, just a few weeks ago, a young airman was shot by police after a minor traffic accident, for turning around with his WALLET in his hand. Why would a LEO even think there was a reason to have his weapon drawn, much less SHOOT someone, when responding to a fender bender?!?! The police are waaaaaaaay out of control. Just sayin’

  20. Guys, guys, guys….you’re missing the point here. A douchenozzle got shot. Is that a problem? By a cop. So what? In the back. Who cares? As long as the score remains douchenozzles zero, homeowners + one, I think we should all rejoice at the outcome.

    • +∞
      Homeowner / resident and their CHILD lest we forget defense of our families first and most importantly! Bad guys stopped by good person defending the life of their family and their home.
      A PLUS 1 on our side no matter the slant you want to put on it!

      • Actually, that kind of raises a question. He went outside looking around and left his child inside, hiding in the bathroom? Doesn’t sound like the best way to handle that situation to me–wouldn’t it be more appropriate to set up a defensive position with the young’un and be prepared to stand them off once entry is made, having made the 911 call?

        • Much more appropriate. Leaving a young ‘un inside alone and going out to play Gunsmoke doesn’t seem like a wise decision to me.

  21. This from the land of Rahmrod. I’m happy to hear that the resident and his daughter are unharmed. I’m sorry to hear the SOB who tried to break in survived. I wonder how Rahm would feel about other law abiding citizens doing the same as this off duty officer. I wonder how the antis feel about an honest to ___________(deity of choice) DGUOTD in Chicago.

    • I’m certain the requisite wailing, rending of garments and gnashing of teeth would occur. Probably by Rev. Jackson. For air time and column inches.

  22. Well, OK. But what about the dog? Did they kill the dog? Was there a Grandpa? Is he still living? Did they at least pull out the MRAP’s

  23. I am tired of this site and the anti-cop slant. RF posts an article about a cop shooting and the arm chair quarter backs come out in droves, followed by 200 comments of cop bashing.

    Here’s a new flash – there are two standards. Now you have confirmation. The Thin Blue Line has a standard for you and a standard for them. That’s the way it is and always will be. I personally think there are and should be limits to that. I hate police militarization. I hate 4th amendment violations and laws governing 10 round magazines. But if you’ve ever read anything I’ve ever responded to on here you know that already. Here’s the deal, if you don’t like that double standard, become a cop. Oh, you don’t want to be a cop? Fine, then live with it. Because let me tell you, the job isn’t easy. Most do it because that’s all they know. I come on here and get to see comments about how cops are overpaid and have easy jobs. I made 19.5k my first year as a cop, and that was with a college degree, in a suburb of Charleston no less. Not exactly overpaid. What did I do for that? Well, I fought drunk shitheads, arrested drug dealers, went into buildings looking for burglars and much much more. Yup, I asked for it. I applied and got hired and that’s the job I asked for. I don’t want a cookie, I just want some here to understand that while I think you have the absolute right to own any weapon you want, including belt-fed, crew served weapons, I also think the double standard you speak of is not the enemy you all make it out to be. Sure some bad cops take advantage of it. But in my experience, they all get theirs in the end. What comes around goes around, and every cop or LEO on here knows what I am talking about. We do police our own, but it’s behind the curtain. Sorry that you don’t get to see the results – cop cult and all that applies.

    I am tired of the whining about how “that’s your job” and “you chose that profession, I didn’t, so suck it up.” True, I did. We did. But I can say the same thing – If you don’t like it, go be a cop. “I don’t want to be a cop” you say. Fine then don’t, but the double standard is here to stay. You know what else is here to stay? Another kind of double standard. The one that says anything I do, any action I take, will be held to a much higher standard. Make a mistake? I can loose my job. Have a bad night, Giglio and lose my job. For the rest of my life, If I make a bad call, I am held to a higher standard, always.

    So flame away and tell me how wrong I am. But here’s the truth, LEO’s are not your enemy. Most of us support the 2nd amendment 100%. No “buts” or caveats. I know what shall not be infringed means. It means, shall not be infringed. Period. That’s what I came on to this site originally for, not cop bashing. There’s always exceptions. Whenever a crazy idiot shoots up a school or other facility, you’re the first to point out that that gun owner was the exception. But when a cop screws up, he’s the rule. All cops suck from that point right?

    Whatever – go on making enemies and promoting the “Us vs. Them” mentality that does nothing for the 2A cause, it just feeds into the hate cycle and gives the antis more stereotypes to exploit.

    • I have a question. If you’re so tired of this site, why do you keep returning to post? I’m confused.

    • Here’s the deal, if you don’t like that double standard, become a cop. Oh, you don’t want to be a cop? Fine, then live with it.

      I’ve got a better idea: one law, one standard, for everybody. Don’t like it? Don’t want to be a cop if you can’t get special treatment? Then quit. The truth is you’re not nearly as indispensable as you think you are.

    • @ Brad- well written. Pay no attention to @ Jus Bill- he is a contrary a$$ that believes in nothing except that his role here is being a contrary a$$.

      I respect the work that Police do but have deep concern about increasing Police militarization with equipment, tactics and most importantly mind set towards the public. I agree that RF’s tone on this article was off base.

      • Well, repeatedly logging into a site that you don’t like in order to aggressively berate people that you disagree with seems to indicate a behavior pattern that might warrant looking into. And also possibly indicate a mistake in the choice of one’s profession due to the ready availability of instruments of deadly force. Wouldn’t you agree?

    • All professions extend professional courtesy to other members of the profession — lawyers, doctors, probably even plumbers. I do not think it should come as a surprise that cops do it. It just needs to be kept within reasonable bounds.

      I have much more distrust of prosecutors than cops. Most are good and do their jobs. However, they are much more political and some offices have really unfair agendas.

    • Does that apply to the medical profession as well? If I have an issue with doctors, I should become one, so that I can criticized them? If I have an issue with the NFL, I have to keep my yap shut until I get drafted and make the team?

      It sounds silly, doesn’t it? Yet it’s an exact parallel to your stated opinion. WE PAY THEIR SALARIES. Why can’t we raise criticisms about their performance? “Because cops”?

  24. Still another incident of what I’ve been hearing about for years. The bad guys knock. If you don’t respond they assume the house is empty and attempt entry.

    Unless you enjoy all the drama that goes with a shooting, good or not, answer the phucking door when someone knocks. It could be the simplest and cheapest crime prevention move you make.

    And always home carry. The drama of being in a shooting is not as bad as the drama of being a victim.

  25. I am just glad I live in Arizona, this is not even a chargeable offense; if you try and break into my house or take my car while I am in it I can shoot you dead legally, we can carry open or concealed without a permit; criminal beware! We bite back!!!! Castle doctrine rocks, the rest of you are simply pikers! Cheap imitations!!!! If you choose to live in the Midwest or the left coast, you get everything you deserve.

    • Yeah, friggin’ paradise. But don’t dare let them catch you with a gram of the Demon Weed, Marihuana, Assasin of Youth! Punishment will be swift and merciless! Gotta obey da LAW!

      They say ACLU counts amendments 1,1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10; sometimes I think some Gun Nutz™ count 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2!       😀

      • Hey Rich,
        There may be some places in this country where the penalties for marijuana possession are a bit harsh. But I’ve never found it difficult to stay out of drug court. I mean, it’s really not that hard to just not buy the stuff in the first place.

        • “it’s really not that hard to just not buy the stuff in the first place.”

          How is it anybody’s business what kind of plant smoke I choose to inhale?

          Which clause of the Constitution authorizes the FedGov to throw people into iron cages for smoking dried flowers?

        • Not too hard to not buy a gun, either, pard. Did ya piece all that together? Need some help?

  26. I hope that if I have to, gods forbid, use lethal force to protect me and my own, that the investigation probes as shallowly, the questions asked as sparsely, and the matter glossed over so quickly…

  27. If the shooter had been a civilian and the details were all more/less the same we’d probably read an article here praising the home owner, decrying the injustice of “the system” and … so forth. Might even have been a “defensive gun use of the day” nominee. It would lead to lengthy comments attacking Chicago (rightfully).

    Just an observation.

  28. What would be a great resource for the defense of one of us in this situation to have compiled in one spot, all of these police shootings. Especially off duty cops because the are half cop and half us. If need be these scenarios could be presented to a jury, a half dozen cop shootings that have similar scenarios to our DGU where cop was put on paid admin leave and never even charged, let alone tried.

  29. Without even reading the story, It’s almost certain that the shooting will be justifiable.. Just because he is a cop.

  30. By the way, in a true DGU, it is not that the cop should be treated like us, but that we should be treated like a cop.
    For him to be charged, would be an injustice, that is not our goal.

    Two wrongs do not make a right.
    * but three lefts do.

  31. One more dead scumbag, what’s not to like? If DiFi herself perforated this turd with imploding bullets from a Ma Deuce attached to a quadrotor I’d put aside our differences and tell her “good shooting.”

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