Man charged with shooting at off-duty cop during road rage incident on Stevenson Expressway

David Abarca and the approximate location of the alleged shooting. | ISP; Google

A Chicago man has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at an off-duty Chicago police officer on the Stevenson Expressway last week. The woman driving the man’s car at the time of the shooting was critically injured.

The officer was on his way to work when he honked his horn because the car in front of him did not move when a light turned green on Kedzie near the Stevenson around 10 p.m. Thursday, officials said.

Prosecutors said the other car’s driver slammed on their brakes as the officer followed them onto the expressway ramp, causing the cop to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision.

Later, the off-duty officer’s car’s rear-facing dashcam captured the other vehicle pulling up behind him and then moving parallel to his car as they headed inbound. According to prosecutors, the other car’s driver attempted to run the cop off the road and flashed their bright lights at him.

At one point, the officer saw a bright green laser beam coming from the other car, prosecutor Tilesha Jackson said. The cop, believing that the laser was attached to a gun, began shooting into the other car, and someone returned fire from the vehicle, Jackson alleged.

She said a CPD ShotSpotter detected 23 rounds of fully-automatic gunfire at the time of the shooting. The officer dialed 911, and the other vehicle collided with a cement barrier near Archer.

According to Jackson, the woman driving the other car suffered a gunshot wound to the head, but no other injuries were reported.

A truck driver who stopped to help told police that the woman’s passenger, David Abarca, asked him not to call the police, Jackson said. The trucker called 911 anyway. Officers found a handgun with an extended magazine, auto-fire switch, and green laser sight attached lying on an embankment about 15 feet from the crashed car, she continued.

Abarca denied possessing a firearm.

His private defense attorney, Joseph Lopez, noted that the off-duty officer fired the first rounds. Abarca has three children of his own and lives with his girlfriend, who has two of her own, Lopez said.

Abarca was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for armed robbery in 2018 and unlawful possession of a weapon in 2017, according to Jackson.  Abarca is now charged with attempted murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Judge Charles Beach ordered him held without bail.

“Your history combined with this new offense… tells me that following the rules is not really your thing,” Beach said.

Jackson referred to the woman driving Abarca’s car as a co-defendant, but information about charges filed against her, if any, was not available.

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