March 28, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) Chicago, Illinois — A gun used by a suspect who died in a shootout, in which three officers from the Chicago Police Department were wounded, has been traced to a surprising source: a former Lake County sheriff’s deputy.
Now, Chicago police are scrambling to figure out how the gun owned by the unnamed former deputy — who was, incidentally, fired from his law enforcement position last Friday — ended up in the hands of convicted felon, Lamar Harris.
“Multiple law enforcement sources confirmed that authorities investigating the shooting have traced the weapon that wounded the three officers back to the deputy.”
Rich Bruno, vice president of the Illinois Council of Police, the union representing the three injured officers, the deputy had been placed on leave two days prior to being terminated. Because the firing occurred while the 27-year-old deputy was still within the mandatory twelve-month probationary period for new officers, Lake County was not required to disclose a reason.
Though Bruno told the Tribune that to “the best of [his] knowledge” the gun had been “reported stolen,” the deputy told investigators he didn’t even realize his gun was missing, according to an unnamed law enforcement source.
Interestingly, the unidentified former deputy appears to have a bit of a checkered history in law enforcement. The Tribune explained:
“State records show that the officer who initially purchased the handgun later used by Harris worked for the Chicago Police Department from June 2013 to January , and multiple law enforcement sources said he worked at least part of that time in the Harrison District where the shooting occurred. He started working for the Lake County sheriff’s highway patrol division Jan. 11, the undersheriff said.
“Prior to joining the Chicago force, the man served as a reserve officer for the Lake Geneva, Wis., department for about two months in spring 2013, according to department officials. He was still in a training phase and had limited, if any, experience on the street before he was hired by the Chicago force.”
On March 14, three Chicago officers observed a man, later identified as Harris, and a woman acting suspiciously, and approached them to investigate. Harris immediately fled the scene on foot, firing the gun in question as he ran — and hitting all three officers.
“One officer was shot in the back, another in the foot, and a third in the chest,” where it struck the officer’s bulletproof vest, according to authorities cited by the Herald-News.
One of the three officers managed to fatally shoot Harris in the exchange, and the dubious firearm was found in his possession. The woman, who reportedly also fled but was uninvolved in the exchange of gunfire, was later questioned by police and released without charge.
Now that the owner of the gun has been identified, though not publicly, its path from a recently-fired officer to the hands of man who had been arrested at least 40 times takes on paramount importance.
Police officials refused to comment on both the circumstances surrounding the deputy’s termination, as well as if he played any role in the shooting incident.
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