CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – An off-duty Chicago Police officer whose motorcycle struck a 4-year-old girl in Maywood, shot and killed the girl’s father after the father and another man attacked the officer after the accident, officials said.
The officer — a 43-year-old, eight-year veteran of the force — was headed home about Saturday evening when the incident began, Fraternal Order of Police Spokesman Pat Camden said.
He was riding northbound on First Avenue in Maywood near Madison Street when he saw a girl suddenly dart into the street. To avoid striking the girl, the officer purposely ditched his motorcycle, putting it down on its side on the pavement, according to a statement from Maywood village spokesman Larry Shapiro.
But it skidded and flipped, striking the girl as well as her 18-year-old cousin, John Passley, who had run into the street to help her. When the officer tried to help the girl, her father, Christopher Middleton, 26, came out of a nearby restaurant and approached the officer angrily, shouting, according to authorities.
The officer told Middleton he was a police officer, but Middleton struck the officer in the face, knocked him to the ground and continued to hit him, according to Shapiro.
Passley joined in and kicked the officer, Shapiro said. The officer then drew his gun and shot Middleton once.
“He was about to lose consciousness to people beating him,” said Camden, defending the actions of the officer, who works in a West Side police district. “He fired in defense of his life.”
Middleton was pronounced dead at 10:14 p.m. at Loyola University Medical Center.
Middleton’s sister, Tina Middleton, said her brother lived in Elgin with the mother of his daughter and was visiting relatives in Maywood, where he grew up. “He was a good person,” she said. “I know for sure he wasn’t out to harm the man. My brother would never harm anybody. I could understand him [the officer] being upset, but two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Middleton was due to be married Aug. 18th, his sister said. Besides his daughter who was injured, Middleton also had a 6-year-old son and an unborn child, his sister said.
Middleton’s daughter suffered contusions and abrasions and was hospitalized overnight for observation.
The officer is expected to recover from his injuries but was left with contusions to his head and body from the attack and a possible broken leg and broken shoulder from the crash, Camden said.
Passley was being held by Maywood police for questioning, Shapiro said.
The Independent Police Review Authority — which examines all Chicago police-involved shootings — is investigating the incident, said IPRA spokesman Larry Merritt.