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Off-duty officer shot; superintendent vows to catch attacker

(MCT) — A veteran Chicago police officer was shot twice early Monday during an attempted robbery outside his car as a young child sat inside, authorities said.

While the 34-year-old officer sustained gunshot wounds to the chest and wrist, his wounds did not appear to be life-threatening, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy said.

The officer's wrist was broken, but the bullet that struck his chest inflicted only superficial damage, the superintendent said. The officer has been with the police department for 10 years.

"He's obviously shaken up, [but] he's in good spirits," McCarthy said, after visiting the officer at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. "Right now it's as good as it could possibly be."

The shooting happened about 12:30 a.m. in the 6300 block of South Nashville Avenue, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said.

The officer had just parked his car and was preparing to take a child out of a car seat when the attacker approached, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

The officer, who was off-duty at the time, fired in self-defense and may have struck his attacker, McCarthy said.

Early reports suggested the officer's wrist had sustained significant damage in the shooting, said the law enforcement source, who asked to remain anonymous.

Squad cars combed the area after the shooting, but police did not immediately take anyone into custody.

Despite some reports that police were looking for multiple suspects, police were searching for a single attacker, the law enforcement source said.

Police were reviewing video footage and robbery patterns in the area in hopes of identifying a suspect, McCarthy said.

"We're going to catch the guy [who did this]," the superintendent said.  "We're going to hold them accountable."

Several family members joined the officer in the hospital after the shooting, the superintendent said. The officer, whose name has not been released, also received a visit from Rev. Daniel J. Brandt, the police department's chaplain.

"I'll say this: God is good," Brandt said afterward. "It could have been a lot worse."

More than a dozen police vehicles responded to the area of the shooting, including a mobile command unit and squad cars from neighboring Oak Lawn.

As they stood across the street from the cordoned-off shooting site, neighbors awakened by the commotion said they had heard about a half a dozen gunshots.

A couple that lives nearby said the officer lives in the neighborhood and had been returning from work.

Spokesmen for the Chicago Police Department declined to say whether officers were searching for one or for multiple suspects.

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