ENGLEWOOD — A man accused of shooting and seriously wounding a Chicago police officer last month drove away from police trying to pull him over for a traffic stop, then stuck his arm out the car window and fired at the officers five times, prosecutors said in court Saturday.
Jabari Edwards, 28, was charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the June 1 shooting that wounded Officer Fernanda Ballesteros.
The shooting occurred just before 6 a.m. in the 1600 block of West 64th Street.
Ballesteros and her partner were in uniform and on patrol when they saw Edwards drive through a stop sign and tried to stop him, prosecutors said.
But Edwards continued driving and fired at the marked squad car with a 9mm Luger semi-automatic pistol, prosecutors said.
Ballesteros, who was driving, was shot twice in her neck and temple, fracturing her skull and leaving bullet fragments in her shoulder and eye, prosecutors said.
Her partner drove her to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was treated and eventually released to cheers from hundreds of fellow officers. Ballesteros thanked her partner in an emotional video, calling him a “guardian angel” for saving her life.
Prosecutors said Ballesteros is on the mend, but still experiencing pain in her head and shoulders, as well as blurred vision and hearing loss.
A witness told police they saw the car drive into a ditch after the shooting, and identified Edwards as the person who fled the scene after the crash, prosecutors said. Surveillance video also shows Edwards fleeing the scene and holding an object, prosecutors said.
Authorities further homed in on Edwards through the car and gun used, prosecutors said.
Edwards’ friends said they were all drinking late into the night on June 1, and allowed Edwards to borrow the car involved in the shooting later that morning to go to work, prosecutors said. The gun belonged to a person close to Edwards, who had access to the gun owner’s home, prosecutors said.
Officials found five bullet casings at the scene that matched the Luger pistol, prosecutors said.
Dash cam video from the officers’ squad car shows the attempted traffic stop, prosecutors said. There is no video of the shooting itself because Edwards had made a left turn, but gunshots can be heard in the video, prosecutors said.
Edwards was arrested July 13 in Burlington, Iowa, prosecutors said.
“The defendant, without provocation, took a handgun and fired at officers who attempted to pull him over for a traffic stop,” prosecutors said, in arguing for no bail.
Edwards’ attorney questioned the evidence, noting there was no actual video of the shooting, and prosecutors’ only witnesses did not see the shooting occur.
“This is essentially pieces of a puzzle that are insufficient to show that the proof is evident and the presumption is great that my client did in fact commit these alleged crimes,” the attorney said.
A Cook County judge did not agree and ordered Edwards held without bail.
“If you do this to two police officers, merely doing a traffic stop, what would you do to the other people out there on the street?” the judge said Saturday. “This case is as violent as it can get. This is a shooting that never should have happened.”
Edwards is due back in court Monday.
Ballesteros was one of two officers from the same Englewood district shot and wounded during traffic stops this summer.
On June 12, an officer, later identified as Erik Moreno, was seriously injured when a traffic stop devolved into a gunfight in the 6900 block of South Sangamon Street. Moreno was released from the hospital about a week later, and police charged a 27-year-old man with attempted first-degree murder.
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