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Officer struck with metal object during chase

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Chicago police officer was injured after someone hit him with a blunt metal object on the South Side not far from Rainbow Beach during a foot chase early Friday.

Police told the Chicago Tribune that object may have been a piece of metal from a bed frame.

The incident started when police were chasing a suspect they thought had a gun near 80th and Manistee around 1 a.m. That's when police say another person attacked the officer with the metal object, hitting him in the head, neck and shoulder area. He was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not serious.

Police swarmed the scene with guns drawn, and a police helicopter was brought in to help look for the suspect. So far, police have made no arrests in the case.

Police say the chase started when officers saw two men, one with a gun, standing in a garage in an alley near Manistee and Burnham. The man with the gun took off through a gangway toward Burnham Avenue, and one officer got out of the car to chase him while his partner circled around the block to cut him off. The chase doubled back, according to police, toward the garage when the second person inside stepped out and hit the officer twice with that object.

Eric Hoskins lives in the South Chicago neighborhood just about a block from where the police officer was hit. He says the gang problem in his area is out of control.

"My neighborhood is rowdy. They shoot around here. They gang bang," said Hoskins. "I'm just tired of it. I can't even come out the house at night. Sometimes I walk down and they throw rocks at me."

A police camera is mounted one block away, but neighbors say it's no crime deterrent.

"They still do what they wanna do, camera or no camera," Hoskins said.

Leroy Kinsey, 53, has been a South Sider all his life and says he's more scared now than ever.

"Our police force, they are losing ground," he said. "I hope and pray something happens because it's not getting any better. We need more police and a better strategy. I mean, it's just ridiculous."

On July 3, the city came out with a proposal to add about 450 officers by the end of the year. But the police union president says he believes that will be difficult, and the clock is ticking.

"Time will only tell whether or not these 450 officers will be hired, but that number doesn't even keep up with the amount of officers that are retiring for the 2012 year," said Mike Shields, Fraternal Order of Police president.

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