A retired Chicago firefighter was killed by a fatal bullet during a shootout with potential car hijackers in Morgan Park in the far south, according to police.
At around 2 p.m., the 65-year-old left the Lets Get Poppin popcorn store, 11758 S. Western Ave. And he walked to his car when a dark-colored sedan approached and four men got out, Chicago Police Chief Operations Officer Brian McDermott said at a press conference at the scene.
There was a shootout, McDermott said, and a retired firefighter was hit in the stomach. He was taken to Crest Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.
The Cook County Medical Examination Bureau said the retired firefighter was Dwayne Williams of Longwood Manor.
Williams was a lieutenant who retired from the fire department about two years ago after joining the force in 1992, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. His last assignment was with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Langford said his last assignment was with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, as he was going to return to work as a civil servant as soon as next week because “I really like working in that environment.”
Speaking at the scene, Southwest Side Board Member Matt O’Shea said Williams was a dress code member of the fire department.
“I can tell you he was a hero,” O’Shea said. “He has spent his entire career hard working as a first responder of our great city. What a huge loss.”
“My heart goes out to the victim’s family and to the victim himself,” McDermott said.
McDermott said the suspects were last seen fleeing west at 118th Street in the sedan. It was not immediately clear if any of them were hit by bullets.
The shooting comes amid a rise in reports of auto theft across the city. Chicago Police have responded to 1,229 car thefts this year, more than double the 514 car thefts in Chicago in the whole of 2019, according to data obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The Chicago Police Department is well aware of the increase in vehicle hijackings, and we are now doing our best to increase the capabilities of the Citywide Task Force,” said McDermott.
Earlier in the year, another fatal shooting occurred in a restaurant just blocks away.
One person was killed and four others injured when one of them opened fire on a man dining at Lumes Pancake House, 11601 S. Western Ave.
McDermott assured residents that the administration is doing everything it can to reduce violence in the neighborhood.
“The message is that we hear their concerns loud and clear, and that we understand the fears they are going through,” he said. “We all have people we know who live in this society who should not live in fear.”