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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Family Of Mom Critically Wounded In Southwest Side Highway Shooting Sues City, Off-Duty Officer

Lizbeth Urbina, 24, was driving when a passenger in her car and an off-duty police officer exchanged gunfire, resulting in Urbina being shot in her head. The lawsuit claims the officer fired first and should've de-escalated the situation.

Lizbeth Urbina, a mother of two young kids, is still in intensive care following a highway shooting last week.
Provided; Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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MCKINLEY PARK — The family of a 24-year-old woman who was shot on the Stevenson Expressway last week is suing the city and the police officer involved.

Lizbeth Urbina was shot in her head and critically wounded after a passenger in her car and an off-duty police officer shot at each other around 10 p.m. Aug. 4 on I-55 near Ashland Avenue.

It’s unclear who shot first or who shot Urbina.

Urbina’s family filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court Wednesday alleging officer Ivan Razo fired first and escalated the situation to the point where he used deadly force against police protocol. The Police Department’s use of force policy forbids officers from shooting at moving cars.

Razo has not been charged with a crime and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Urbina and Razo were both trying to get on the northbound lanes of I-55 from Kedzie Avenue when the two were stopped at a red light, the lawsuit states. Razo became “angered” and honked when Urbina didn’t drive forward when the light turned green, the suit alleges. Then “some back-and-forth interactions” continued once the cars were on the highway, the lawsuit states.

At some point, someone inside Urbina’s car pointed a green laser at Razo’s car, the lawsuit states.

“Based solely on the fact that he saw a green laser light pointed into his vehicle, Officer Razo fired multiple shots from his moving vehicle into Lizbeth’s moving vehicle, on an interstate highway,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit argues the officer could have slowed down, pulled over or called 911 to avoid confrontation on the highway.

“Rather than take actions to de-escalate the confrontation, Officer Razo instead took actions to escalate the situation,” the lawsuit reads.

Prosecutors said David C. Abarca — a passenger in Urbina’s car — pointed a green laser light at the officer’s vehicle, and he and the officer shot at each other, according to the Sun-Times.

State police said investigators recovered Abarca’s Glock handgun that was converted to be fully automatic and had a green laser light, according to the Sun-Times.

Abarca is being held without bail on charges of attempted murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Illinois State Police are still investigating the shooting and said there are no updates as of Thursday afternoon.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates use of force from officers, said it was responding to the scene of the off-duty officer-involved shooting in a statement on Twitter last week.

A spokesperson for the police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Urbina is a Pilsen resident and mother of two young kids, according to family and community organizers. She works at a shoe store in Little Village and is well-known in the neighborhood.

Baltazar Enriquez, president of the Little Village Community Council, organized a press conference Wednesday with Urbina’s family at Illinois State Police headquarters in Des Plaines. He said family, friends and supporters gathered to deliver a letter to state police demanding they conduct a fair and transparent investigation into the shooting.

He said the Little Village community is weary of a police department investigating another police department.

“We as a community are very upset,” he said Thursday.

Enriquez said he’s also filed a Freedom of Information Act request, hoping to obtain access to highway camera video and body cam video so the community can better understand what happened.

“We as taxpayers are tired of paying millions in lawsuits out of [police] stupidity,” Enriquez said. “This could’ve caused more deaths. [Razo] really didn’t take into consideration other people’s lives.”

Urbina is still in the hospital in critical condition, Enriquez said.

“We’re praying that she pulls through,” he said.

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