Police officer dies after South Side shooting
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago officer died Sunday after being shot three times.
The officer, identified as 39-year-old Nathaniel Taylor Jr., was shot in the head, chest and arm. Taylor was a 14-year veteran of the police department.
Taylor and other officers were attempting to serve a search warrant at approximately 5:30 a.m. Sunday when the gunfire began near 79th Street and Clyde on the city's Southeast Side. Officers reportedly found the suspect near his car outside the home.
"The target arrived on the scene. They [officers] approached him. He opened fire on the officers. The officers returned fire," police Supt. Jody Weis said.
The suspect has been identified by family members as Lamar Cooper. Police say they found a package of narcotics stuffed in his mouth, and they later found drugs and guns in his home, which was equipped with several surveillance cameras.
Cooper was taken to Stroger hospital in critical conditiong, while Taylor was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. He underwent surgery earlier Sunday before his death.
"Everyone's kind of numb. You hate for this to happen. It's a sad event," said Off. Margie Broadway of the Chicago Police Department.
Meanwhile, concerned family members and friends watched the scene outside Cooper's home in disbelief Sunday while authorities conducted their investigation.
"I've been in this neighborhood for seven years, and what I'm seeing now, in the last couple of years, it's very, very disturbing," said Sonya Chapman.
Cooper remained hospitalized Sunday night.
Some who know the suspect described him as a loving husband and father who was very involved in the neighborhood. They said he might have attacked the officers because he thought he was being robbed. Area residents also said they thought Cooper was trying to rid the neighborhood of crime.
"Neighbors have been concerned about break-ins because somebody broke into my house twice," Terrell Murray said. "We thought he was a good guy in the neighborhood because he used to give money to the block club."
On the other side of town, many fellow police officers rushed to the bedside of their colleague Sunday, and some stayed there until Sunday night.
"He was a good-hearted person. Everybody that worked him, basically, we all loved him and cared for him. He was a very good guy. You could never say anything bad about him," Chicago police Off. Daliah Goree said.
"I work with him. I trained him. He's a very good officer. The best. He deserves a lot, not what happened to him today, but he deserves a lot," said Det. Ron Lewis of the Chicago Police Department.
The family of Nathaniel Taylor Jr, also called Nate, is requesting privacy. The officer leaves a wife and young child behind. No funeral arrangements were announced Sunday night.
Members of the suspect's family say they have unanswered questions.
Police say they recovered the offender's gun at the scene.
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