CHICAGO — A man went to great lengths by climbing a fire escape up five stories in order to infiltrate a Chicago police facility Monday while SWAT officers were engaged in training. The suspect subsequently grabbed two firearms, which led to a non-fatal shooting, according to authorities.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said the intruder who armed himself was transported to the hospital. He is expected to survive as his injuries are reportedly non-life-threatening. A police officer required medical attention due to an ankle injury, WHIO reported.
The suspect had previously been at the facility to reportedly retrieve personal property. He was seen on video departing, but then returned to infiltrate the building on Homan Square on Chicago’s West Side, Brown said.
As the perpetrator returned to the facility, he climbed the fire escape to the fifth floor, where a door had been propped open to allow for ventilation since there are no windows on that floor.
Brown said the man has an extensive criminal record, yet it has not been determined if the man actually went to the building to retrieve property. It wasn’t immediately clear if property taken from the man was stored in the building.
Brown said the man was a resident of Waukegan, a suburb approximately 42 miles north of Chicago. Otherwise, the top cop said he had no further information about the suspect.
According to investigators, the suspect grabbed at least two weapons that were placed on a table during the training exercise and aimed them at officers. The firearms were either cleared or contained pellets used in training.
“These were guns that were being watched,” Brown said. “Obviously, someone coming from a stairwell outside startled everyone. Who is this person? Is this person associated with the training? We do have live actors sometimes who come in plainclothes.”
According to the Chicago Fire Department, the injured officer was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with an ankle injury. Brown confirmed that he was not shot.
Although the suspect was initially described as being in critical condition, Brown later said the man’s injuries were not life-threatening, WHIO reported.
Department spokesman Tom Ahern said the man has been placed in custody and is under police guard at the hospital. He did specify the proposed charges.
Early Monday afternoon, crime scene tape was stretched across South Homan Avenue a block south of the police station and across the same street just north of the large red brick building. The police facility houses evidence and recovered property on the first floor, and some of the department’s specialized units also work out of the building.