Cops find dead body while chasing suspect, who later escapes through the ceiling of a Chicago police holding cell

Chicago — The arrests of two men who were allegedly inside a car that intentionally struck a Chicago police officer near the Field Museum on Friday evening have taken some unexpected turns, according to law enforcement sources.

First, Chicago cops who chased after the men on the South Side found a dead body inside a building. Then, one of the suspects tried to escape from Area Three police headquarters by busting through the ceiling tile of a holding cell.

Video frames show a hole in the holding cell ceiling (left) and debris that fell into the Area Three detective division as the man tried to make his escape. | Neal Edelstein

It all started when cops pulled over a car in the 1100 block of South Lake Shore Drive at 8:12 p.m. because it may have been involved in an aggravated battery to a police officer incident earlier this month, CPD said. After pulling over, the driver reversed into an officer who was walking toward their car. CPD said one officer then fired at the car. The bullet struck another car in the area, but no injuries were reported from the gunfire.

The driver fled the scene, but police pursued the vehicle to the 7200 block of South Vincennes and apprehended two people who fled the vehicle.

Officers were looking for the two men when they entered a home in the 7100 block of South Lafayette and discovered a dead man sitting in a chair. On Saturday, the medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy on the man, but the results were inconclusive, and an official ruling on the cause and manner of his death is pending.

The police spokesperson confirmed that officers found an unresponsive man who appeared to be between 61 and 70 years old “while searching for an offender to an unrelated incident.” A source familiar with the investigation said the man appeared to have been dead for quite a while.

While the investigation into the Lake Shore Drive incident was ongoing, police transported the two suspects to Area Three headquarters at 2452 West Belmont. But one of the men didn’t want to stay, and he busted through the ceiling of a holding cell, according to a source.

Ceiling tile and ductwork rained down on the detective division as the escapee moved through the overhead crawlspace and cops tore down the ceiling to find him. Officers caught him before he left the building.

A video of the damage done to the holding cell and surrounding office area was tweeted on Saturday afternoon by filmmaker Neal Edelstein:

A CPD spokesperson said late Saturday afternoon that no information about the escape attempt was available because the police report documenting the incident had not been completed.

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