County cop opened fire on men who tried to steal his squad car outside Preckwinkle home, but authorities never told the public about it: sources

Update October 7, 6:02 p.m. — Chicago police now say the officer involved in the shooting is 57-years-old. A CPD spokesperson previously told CWBChicago that he is 59. A Cook County Forest Preserves spokesperson has confirmed that the officer was assigned to Preckwinkle’s personal security detail. The Forest Preserves spokesperson also said the officer was on duty at the time of the shooting.

Update 12:26 p.m. — Toni Preckwinkle is registered to vote at the Kimbark Avenue address, according to public records. Our story has been updated to reflect the newly-received information.

A Cook County Forest Preserves police officer fired shots at men who tried to take his squad car outside a Hyde Park home owned by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle last Monday evening, according to sources who spoke with CWBChicago on the condition of anonymity.

But authorities never told the public about the confrontation even though Chicago police investigators suspected the officer shot a 19-year-old man.

Forest Preserves Police provide Preckwinkle’s personal security detail. She owns more than one home, and her office has previously refused to say where she lives. However, public records show she lists the home as her residence for voting purposes.

Chicago cops were alerted to shots fired outside the Preckwinkle home at 8:28 p.m. on September 27 by a CPD officer who was stationed at Barack Obama’s nearby mansion, a source said. The former president was in town to break ground at his presidential center the next day.

Seconds after the officer radioed about the gunfire, another officer assigned to the local police district’s technology center reported that ShotSpotter gunfire detectors identified seven rounds fired “in the middle of the street” at 5132 South Kimbark Avenue, a couple of homes down from Preckwinkle’s address. Residents were soon calling 911 to report the gunfire, too.

The 59-year-old Forest Preserves officer, who was off-duty, reportedly told Chicago cops that he fired at men who threatened him and tried to take his county-owned SUV, which bears police license plates.

One of the assailants literally ran out of one of his shoes, which police found nearby. CPD supervisors called in a canine unit to try to track the suspect using the shoe’s scent. The police department’s helicopter was also launched to assist with the investigation, records provided to CWBChicago show.

According to the records, two vehicles were struck by the officer’s bullets, including his squad car. Investigators found shell casings directly outside the home Preckwinkle owns, according to the documents.

A Chicago Police Department spokesperson said the case report is restricted, and they are not authorized to look at it. Records show CPD classified the case as an aggravated assault of a police officer with a handgun. Another source said a Chicago police internal affairs unit that handles police-involved shootings joined violent crimes detectives at the scene.

Shortly after the Forest Preserves officer fired his gun, Chicago police responded to a call of a 19-year-old man with a gunshot wound in a South Shore apartment. About three hours later, CPD said in a brief media statement that the man “was walking on the sidewalk when he heard shots and felt pain” on the 6700 block of South Jeffrey Boulevard.

But neither ShotSpotter nor humans reported any gunfire in that area, according to a source. Officers who entered the apartment saw several pairs of shoes manufactured by the same obscure company as the shoe police found abandoned near Preckwinkle’s house.

The man was treated for a gunshot wound to his knee. Then, Chicago police arrested him on an outstanding warrant because he failed to appear in court on a pending felony charge of possessing a stolen motor vehicle, court records show.

During a bond court hearing two months ago, prosecutors said Chicago police officers arrested the man after he ran from officers who saw him driving a car that was stolen when its owner left it running in the Loop, according to CPD and court documents.

Judge Charles Beach released him on his own recognizance and ordered him to stay in the house from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. with an ankle bracelet. The man never showed up for a single court date, records show.

Prosecutors told Beach the man had no criminal background. However, CWBChicago reviewed CPD documents that show he was charged with misdemeanor theft and possessing a replica firearm last winter after a man said he and another offender robbed him in Hyde Park — about two blocks from Preckwinkle’s home. The status of those charges was not immediately available.

On the day after he was shot last week, Judge Arthur Hill put the man on electronic monitoring and released him on his own recognizance again, records show.

The man is not charged with any crime in connection with the incident outside Preckwinkle’s home.

Last week’s shooting was the second time in exactly two months that someone attacked an off-duty Cook County Forest Preserves police officer on Preckwinkle’s block.

On July 27, a 33-year-old Forest Preserves officer told police that a man got out of a black SUV and battered him, the Sun-Times reported. No motive was given.

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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