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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

County Board President Preckwinkle’s Security Officer Fired Shots During Attempted Carjacking Outside Her Hyde Park Home, Officials Say

Preckwinkle's office and local police are all pointing fingers at each other to share specifics — but officials were quick to say the shooting was in response to an attempted carjacking.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle looks on as Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx speaks as the Black Caucus endorses her on March 12, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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HYDE PARK — A Forest Preserves officer fired shots while on security duty outside county board President Toni Preckwinkle’s Hyde Park home last week, but officials aren’t sharing much else about what happened that night.

The shooting took place about 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the 5100 block of Kimbark Avenue, according to the Cook County Forest Preserves police and Chicago police.

Further details have been sparse, as officials have declined to answer questions and referred questions to other departments — which also didn’t provide answers.

An investigation is “being conducted by the Chicago Police Department,” Forest Preserves spokesperson Carl Vogel said. He directed questions to Chicago police.

In a statement, a Chicago police spokesperson said an armed suspect attempted to carjack a 57-year-old man’s Ford. Chicago police made no mention of shots being fired in the statement, nor did the department say the gunfire involved a Forest Preserves officer.

Vogel also said the officer fired shots during an attempted carjacking of his vehicle.

No one is in custody, and officers are investigating the possibility there are other suspected carjackers, Chicago police spokesperson Thomas Ahern said. He directed specific questions to Preckwinkle’s office.

But Preckwinkle provided few specifics when asked about the shooting at a county budget briefing Wednesday, citing the investigation.

Preckwinkle confirmed a “violent incident” involving a member of her security detail took place outside her home. The officer has since returned to work, she said.

“I was at my home and I heard gunshots,” Preckwinkle said during a county budget briefing Wednesday. “I’m just grateful that [the officer] wasn’t hurt. Given the circumstances, it could have had a quite different outcome.”

Filing a report with Chicago police was sufficient public notice, Preckwinkle said when a Tribune reporter asked whether the county should be more transparent about police shootings.

Preckwinkle’s spokesperson, Nicholas Mathiowdis, directed Block Club’s questions to the Forest Preserves Thursday.

On Friday, Preckwinkle issued a statement saying the county would notify the public of future incidents involving her security team.

Then she said the responsibility “to determine what information is shared and when” is ultimately on the law enforcement agency leading the criminal investigation.

“In the unfortunate event that my Executive Detail is faced with another act of violence, a brief public notification will be issued that continues to ensure the safety and security of my staff, myself and does not compromise any ongoing investigation,” she said.

The Forest Preserves’ Law Enforcement Department is conducting an internal investigation of the incident as Chicago police investigate, Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle’s security detail’s involvement in the shooting was first reported Wednesday — nine days after the incident — by CWBChicago, a site focused on local crime.

A Forest Preserves officer told emergency dispatchers he had “returned fire” at people trying to carjack him, ABC 7 reported Wednesday.

Vogel also confirmed Chicago police are investigating the July 27 attack of an on-duty officer in Preckwinkle’s security team on the same block of Kimbark Avenue.

Preckwinkle alleged Friday the suspect in the July attack was armed. Initial reports made no mention of an armed suspect or Preckwinkle’s security detail, and police falsely reported the officer was off-duty at the time.

“For security reasons, we do not disclose any of the operational procedures of the [security] detail,” Vogel said.

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