An individual with a concealed carry permit was commended by police for helping police officers stop a runaway suspect Thursday night in the Chicago suburb of Cicero. Following the incident, Cicero Police Superintendent Jerry Chlada told reporters: “We were lucky enough to have a citizen on the street there who’s a concealed-carry holder, and he also engaged in gunfire.” Cicero Town President Larry Dominick added: “He got out and started helping the police, which is something I’ve got to be proud of.”
The incident began during a “routine” traffic stop (experienced police officers will say that there is no such thing as a “routine” traffic stop) when the suspect, rather than complying with orders to pull over, accelerated up an on-ramp leading onto heavily-trafficked southbound Interstate 55. The officers successfully boxed him in and he sprinted away while firing back at the officers. The suspect hit Cicero police Officer Luis Duarte four times.
His partner took off after the suspect on foot. Enter the “unnamed” citizen with a concealed carry permit and a firearm. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported, “that’s when someone sitting in traffic on Cicero Avenue got out of his car and began shooting at the suspect as well.”
The suspect, also unnamed, was hit once and was taken to a local hospital in serious condition. At this writing it isn’t clear if the bullet that hit him came from Duarte’s partner’s firearm, or from the firearm belonging to the concealed-carry holder.
Also unclear is who the unnamed CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) holder is. If he is an Illinois resident, just how did he get his CCW in a virulent anti-gun state such as Illinois? He must first apply for and receive a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card which by itself is difficult enough. The card is issued by the Illinois State Police only after the applicant passes the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the electronic database maintained by the FBI. The police also check the Illinois Department of Human Services to see he has been adjudicated as a “mental defective” or who has been a patient of a mental institution within the last five years.
Once the FOID card is in hand, only then may the applicant apply for his CCW permit which, in Illinois, “shall” be issued but only if he is 21 years of age or older, has taken a 16-hour training course (at his own expense), has proof that he has lived in the state for at least 10 years, has provided a photograph taken in the last 30 days along with his fingerprints, and has paid a fee to the state of $150. He is likely to have to wait a month or more for his license and then it is only good for five years.
The unnamed “hero” could be a retired or off-duty law enforcement officer to whom these requirements do not apply.
Or he could be a resident of another state where he has obtained his CCW permit. But only if he resides in Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, or Texas.
There is no public record of the unnamed CCW holder being handcuffed and detained for questioning which is SOP in such cases. There is no record of him even being questioned. It may be that he was well-known to the local police officers and was consequently given professional courtesy.
For the average citizen with a concealed-carry permit, however, such blatant interference with a police “investigation” would likely spell more trouble for himself than he wants. Most trainers advise staying out of harm’s way in such an instance for many good reasons including: to avoid getting shot, either by the police officers mistaking the citizen for the BG (bad guy), or by the BG himself; and to avoid shooting an innocent bystander, with all the legal and financial implications that would follow.
The only time a CCW holder should become involved in a situation as dangerous as this would be if the officers either request assistance or grant it to the civilian if he offers it. Then he becomes an officer of the law with power to arrest.
The suspect remains in serious condition, with charges pending. Officer Duarte is out of surgery and out of danger, according to hospital officials.
The identity and whereabouts of the civilian who assisted in the incident remain unknown.
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