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Two Police Officers Hurt, Suspect Killed In River North

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The normally tranquil River North neighborhood was rattled by gunfire Wednesday afternoon, where two police officers were injured and a suspect was fatally shot.

Emergency crews were packed in around the corner of Chicago Avenue and Wells Street about 5 p.m., an hour after shots rang out in the area.

The Chicago Police Department issued a statement about what reportedly happened Wednesday afternoon:

At approximately 4 p.m. on February 23, 2011, Near North (18th) District officers were investigating an incident of aggressive panhandling when they were confronted with a combative subject. Officers placed the offender into custody and were en route to process the subject in the District station when the handcuffed offender produced a handgun near the 800 block of N. Wells. The offender fired the weapon, striking one of the officers. The officers exited the vehicle and responded to the deadly threat by discharging their weapons, fatally striking the offender. A weapon was recovered on the scene.

The department did not explain how a handcuffed suspect fired a weapon or why the person was not searched before being taken into custody.

The 44-year-old officer who was shot was taken to Northwestern Hospital and is expected to recover from his injuries, according to police. The other injured officer was also taken to Northwestern and treated for "minor injuries." Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford told NBC Chicago the second officer suffered a hand injury.

A law enforcement source told NBC that the suspect was wearing multiple layers of clothing and was able to hide the weapon from police.

The Chicago Sun-Times has spoke to a witness on the scene:

Larry Lubell, owner of Urban Insurance Agency, heard what he thought was a car backfiring from his office window on the corner of Chicago and Wells.

"At first I thought people were pushing a car, then I realized it was an unmarked squad car. It was moving and police officers were jumping out," Lubell said.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the shooting. Further details about the suspect were not immediately available.

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