Police academy “use of force” instructor unlawfully shot man on NW Side, prosecutors say

A Chicago police officer who teaches “use of force” policy at the CPD academy shot a driver on the Northwest Side because he thought the victim pointed a gun at him, prosecutors said Wednesday. Surveillance video contradicts the cop’s version of events, and no gun was found in the victim’s car, according to prosecutors.

Kevin Bunge, 39, is charged with felony aggravated battery by discharge of a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle. He was stripped of his police powers immediately after the incident, his defense attorney said.

Kevin Bunge (inset) and a CPD bodycam image of the alleged victim’s vehicle. | CPD; COPA

Bunge was driving home after teaching at the academy on December 11, 2020, when he pulled over in the 3300 block of West Irving Park to listen to an audiobook, prosecutors said.

As he sat in his Jeep listening to a story about the Battle of Fallujah, another car pulled up behind him, and Bunge believed he heard someone fire a gun from the other car.

According to prosecutors, Bunge, a Chicago cop since 2013, had his police star draped around his neck as he pulled out his firearm and exited his Jeep with the gun pointed at the ground. He then allegedly fired two shots at the vehicle — one struck the front fender, and the other struck the driver’s right hand.

The victim drove to a nearby convenience store where he called 911. Prosecutors said Bunge drove to his home and called 911.

He later told investigators that he heard shots, got out of his Jeep, and someone pointed a gun at him as they got into the other car, prosecutors alleged. But surveillance video from a nearby business contradicts his version of events, according to the state.

Bunge’s private defense attorney said he had been carjacked in the months before the shooting, and the offender in that case is facing charges. Based on that experience, and because he was driving an SUV model that hijackers frequently target, Bunge was concerned about the car that pulled up behind him, the attorney said.

Judge John Lyke set bail at $10,000. Bunge will need to post $1,000 to get out of jail.

The man who was shot, Jomner Orozco, and his passenger, Carols Ramirez, filed a lawsuit against Bunge last month alleging the use of excessive force. According to their suit, the men pulled over to use GPS on Ramirez’s phone as they tried to navigate to a friend’s house.

Orozco suffered “significant physical injury” to two fingers, and Ramirez was hit in the face by flying glass, the suit said.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com