CHICAGO — The Chicago police officer shot in her head during a traffic stop in Englewood last week was released from a hospital Monday morning after making a videotaped statement thanking everyone who helped her and highlighting the dangers of the job.
Officer Fernanda Ballesteros left University of Chicago Medical Center to cheers from hundreds of officers and well-wishers who gathered to see her.
Before her release, she recorded a video thanking people for their support, including her partner who was with her Wednesday when someone in car they tried to curb pulled alongside them and shot her. It happened at about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday in the 6100 block of South Paulina Street.
“Thank you to the officers on scene that night of the shooting that acted with such urgency to get me to the hospital,” Ballesteros said from her hospital bed, a bandage covering a wound on the right side of her head.
“Thank you to all of the detectives working tirelessly this week to apprehend the offenders. Thank you to everyone who has reached out, prayed or thought of me and my family. And thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff here at the University of Chicago Hospital for going above and beyond and aiding my recovery,” she said.
“And most importantly, thank you to Officer Young, my partner who had my back and carried me to safety. I’m forever grateful for his quick thinking and swift response. You were my guardian angel that night.”
The Chicago Police Department declined to release Young’s first name when asked.
Ballesteros also talked about another officer from her South Side district shot during a traffic stop Sunday. That officer was hit in the arm and torso. He was hospitalized in serious condition.
That shooting happened around 2 p.m. Sunday in the 6900 block of South Sangamon Street, also in Englewood.
“This week has shown me and my family the true brotherhood of the Chicago Police Department,” Ballesteros said. “The events of last week and yesterday demonstrate the danger each of us officers put themselves in every day. It demonstrates how quickly an officer’s normal day can change into something catastrophic. It shows in the blink of eye, an officer’s life is forever altered.”
Supt. David Brown said at an unrelated press conference Monday five Chicago police officers have been shot so far this year. Also last week, a U.S. Marshal and a K-9 were shot Thursday while trying to arrest a fugitive in Portage Park.