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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

UChicago Police Critically Wound Man In Reported Shootout In Hyde Park, Officials Say

The man in his 20s was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition, a fire department spokesperson said.

A University of Chicago Police car drives near Harper Avenue and 53rd Street in Hyde Park on Nov. 10, 2021, a day after a midday shooting occurred at the corner.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

HYDE PARK — A University of Chicago police officer shot and critically wounded a man Tuesday morning in Hyde Park in an incident officials described as a shootout.

At about 11:43 a.m. Tuesday, a UChicago Police Department officer stopped to investigate a person walking with a handgun near 53rd Street and Woodlawn Avenue, Eric Heath, the university’s associate vice president for safety and security, said in a statement Tuesday. The person and the officer “exchanged shots,” Heath said.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Heath said the officer was driving north on Woodlawn Avenue when he saw the person walking with a handgun drawn. The person fired shots and the officer repeatedly told the person to get on the ground, Heath said. Then, the officer shot back, hitting the person. The person continued approaching the officer with his gun drawn, so the officer shot the person again, Heath said.

Paramedics picked up a man in his 20s with gunshot wounds near Hyde Park Boulevard and Woodlawn Avenue, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said. The call came in at about 11:41 a.m., Langford said.

The man, who was shot several times, was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition, Langford said.

No one else was injured in the shooting, Heath said Tuesday.

A Kimbark Beverage Shoppe employee told the Sun-Times people ran into the store saying they saw “a guy waving a gun” before shooting erupted.

Unconfirmed police scanner audio recorded by CrimeIsDown.com and first reported by The TRiiBE indicates the man may have been experiencing a mental health episode as he “[waved] a gun” near 53rd and Woodlawn.

A dispatcher mentioned the man’s perceived mental state several times — including one reference less than a minute before the dispatcher reported “he is shooting at the police who are returning fire.”

The Chicago Police Department and the university are investigating, and university officials will share more information as it becomes available, he said.The officer will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations, Heath said.

The university “will make video footage of the incident publicly available as soon as possible,” Heath said.

Chicago Police referred all questions about the shooting to the University of Chicago Police Department.

In 2018, a UChicago police officer shot student Charles “Soji” Thomas after he reportedly smashed windows and refused to drop a tent stake during a mental health episode.

The shooting sparked protests at the school, with outraged students saying officers could’ve restrained Thomas without shooting him. Cook County prosecutors dropped charges against Thomas in May.

Students have criticized the frequency at which Black people are stopped by UChicago police officers, as well as the department’s extensive patrol area, which goes far beyond the university’s central campus.

Protesters calling for the private police force’s abolition held a 19-hour sit-in and occupied the university provost’s block for a weekend last summer.

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