A Chicago police officer who shot a man on the North Side while off-duty in December 2020 has been sentenced to probation. Officer Kevin Bunge, who was a “use of force” policy instructor at the Chicago police academy at the time of the shooting, remains on no-pay status at CPD, a spokesperson said Wednesday.
Bunge, 40, pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle on September 14 in exchange for a 30-month probation sentence from Judge Charles Burns. Court records show he must submit to random drug testing, complete drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment, and comply with other conditions.
In exchange for Bunge’s plea, prosecutors dropped 11 other felony charges, including attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, and official misconduct.
After teaching at the academy on December 11, 2020, Bunge was driving home 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 vehicle.
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 was facing charges at the time of the incident. 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.
The man who was shot, Jomner Orozco Carreto, and his passenger, Carlos Ramirez, filed a federal lawsuit against Bunge and the city, alleging the use of excessive force. The city council unanimously approved a $1.2 million settlement payment to the men in February.
Carreto suffered “significant physical injury” to two fingers, and Ramirez was hit in the face by flying glass, the suit said.