Man gets 18 years for shooting a Chicago cop and a passerby in 2021

Chicago — A Chicago man has been sentenced to 18 years for shooting a Chicago police officer and a passerby during a purported “suicide by cop” attempt in March 2021.

Tracey Thomas, 31, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery of a peace officer by discharging a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm toward a peace officer on December 14, according to court records. Judge Ursula Walowski sentenced him to 18 years on each count, with the sentences to be served concurrently. His parole date is set for June 27, 2036.

Tracey Thomas (inset) is seen confronting a Chicago police SWAT team shortly before he was taken into custody on March 20, 2021. | IDOC; Provided

Records show prosecutors dropped 68 other felonies, including 51 counts of attempted murder, in their plea deal with Thomas.

The incident, which stretched for nearly three hours, began around 11:30 a.m. on March 20 in the 200 block of North La Crosse. A Divvy bike rider heard a clicking noise and saw Thomas point a handgun at him, prosecutors said. Thomas allegedly fired a shot at the bicyclist, who ducked but felt something pass through his clothing.

He quickly realized that there was a bullet hole in his clothes, and he fled while Thomas racked the gun, which had apparently jammed, prosecutors said.

Minutes later, a woman was driving around the area searching for a parking spot when she heard a popping sound. She stopped thinking she had a tire problem, and her boyfriend got out to look for damage. As he did, someone shot the boyfriend in his buttocks, according to prosecutors.

The couple sped to a different area and called for help. 

Later, as two Chicago police officers and a CPD evidence technician were processing shell casings from the incident, they heard popping sounds and saw a bullet hole appear in one of their squad cars’ windows. All three cops dove for cover.

Other officers heard the gunfire and began chasing the gunman, who fled into a nearby home. From there, Thomas allegedly began firing at officers from a first-floor window. One officer was shot in her hand.

Prosecutors said that Thomas holed up inside the home and went on Facebook Live, where he admitted to shooting at people and pointing a chrome handgun at his own head. He was taken into custody outside the home after a SWAT standoff.

During an interview with officers, Thomas allegedly said he shot at the Divvy biker and the car passengers to lure police to the area so he could shoot at the cops and ultimately be killed by them.

Thomas was AWOL from a felony narcotics case at the time of the shooting.

Different outcome

A 23-year-old man has been given two years of mental health probation for allegedly attacking and trying to disarm a Chicago police officer outside the Shakespeare (14th) District station in Logan Square last year.

An officer who was heading toward the station’s parking lot saw Antonio Ewings outside and asked if he needed help on the afternoon of December 4, 2021. He said he wanted to file a police report, then suddenly lunged at the officer, knocking her to the ground, prosecutors said.

Ewings straddled the cop, pinned her to the ground, and repeatedly grabbed the grip of her pistol as she tried to fight him off with one hand and radioed for help with the other, according to prosecutors.

Ewings allegedly ran from the scene, but other units located him on a nearby side street a few minutes later.

There, he reportedly lunged at another fully-uniformed officer who was holding him at gunpoint. Ewings grabbed the cop’s firearm and shouted, “shoot me,” prosecutors said.

The officer didn’t. Instead, they backed away until other officers arrived to take Ewings into custody, according to prosecutors.

Officials initially said they believed Ewings’ behavior may have been a “suicide by cop” attempt.

On November 23, Ewings pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated battery of a peace officer. Prosecutors dropped two counts of attempting to disarm an officer in their plea deal. Judge Shelley Sutker-Dermer oversaw the case and sentenced Ewings.

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