A 24-year-old man is facing eight charges after a Chicago police officer suffered a graze wound to his face while chasing a suspect on the city’s South Side. Charles Lawson is charged with four counts of attempted murder, one count each of aggravated battery, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated hijacking and aggravated fleeing and eluding after allegedly committing an armed carjacking which resulted in the chase and shootout in which the officer was wounded.
Police said Lawson had previous felony convictions and was on parole for armed robbery.
Chicago police released dashcam video from inside a squad car of the chase and shootout Wednesday afternoon.
Officers responding to a report of a carjacking Tuesday night began pursuing a vehicle that fit the description. During the pursuit Lawson, who was allegedly driving the car, began shooting at them. One of the bullets grazed an officer in a squad car in the 10000-block of South Eggleston Avenue.
The officer injured was identified as Brandon McDonald, 35, who has been a Chicago police officer for two years. He serves in the 22nd District. He was grazed in the cheek after a bullet pierced his windshield, police said.
Officers in another cruiser picked up the pursuit and returned fire, but Lawson was not struck or injured.
The pursuit ended when Lawson lost control and crashed into a parked Volkswagen. The dashcam video shows what appears to be a gun being tossed out of the car, the suspect putting his hands up then opening the door and laying down on the street beside the car where officers took him into custody.
“During questioning, Mr. Lawson admitted he stole the vehicle to use it in a retaliatory shooting later that evening. What happened last night was a perfect example of good police work and a sobering reminder to all of us of the dangers that officers face on a daily basis,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Police said the dascham video is part of the criminal investigation into Lawson, and is separate from the use of force investigation into the officer’s actions being conducted by the Independent Police Review Authority.
Johnson also said that Lawson had only served limited time for armed robbery and should not have been on the streets. He said it is another example of the lax sentencing laws that help fuel violence in Chicago.
“There are emboldened offenders in some of our communities that think it’s okay to shoot at the police with an illegal gun from a car you stole at gunpoint that you plan to use to shoot another person while you’re on parole,” Johnson said.
Ebony Bruner was not in her Volkswagen when the crash that ended the chase occurred. She came home to find it the center of a massive crime scene.
“Lots of police. All I could see was police and red tape,” Bruner said.
While her vehicle may be totaled – she’s still waiting to hear back from insurance – Bruner said she’s glad the officer is OK and the suspect is off the streets.
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