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Del Pearson, Chicago Police Officer, Shot In Chest: Person Of Interest Questioned

Posted: 03/20/2012 10:42 am Updated: 03/20/2012 5:40 pm

Updated story

A Chicago police officer was shot in the chest and critically injured after he chased after an alleged curfew violator in the city's South Chicago neighborhood Monday evening.

Del Pearson, 47, was shot around 10:45 p.m. in the 8400 block of South Kingston Avenue, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Pearson had stopped to question four alleged curfew violators, one of whom took off running into an alley. The officer followed the individual to a front yard where the suspect opened fire on the officer and hit him in the left upper chest, just above the bulletproof vest he was wearing.

Police are questioning a "person of interest" in the incident Tuesday morning, though no charges have yet been filed, NBC Chicago reports.

Pearson was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital, where his condition stabilized, and was transferred to undergo surgery at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The officer was out of surgery as of approximately 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, ABC Chicago reports, but he remained in critical condition.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Chicago police told ABC that Pearson was "awake, aware and interacting with family members." His prognosis for recovery is good.

According to the Tribune, the person of interest police are questioning is 20 years old and is thought to have gang ties.

"We believe we know what happened," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told ABC. "We believe we know where the gun is. We believe that we actually have a very solid lead. We don't have anybody charged yet, but we're talking to people at the scene as we speak."

The wounded officer is an eight-year veteran of the police force, according to NBC.

The officer's shooting comes on the heels of a bloody weekend where at least 10 people were killed and 40 others were wounded -- one of the most violent Chicago weekends in recent history. Among those killed by gun violence was 6-year-old Aliyah Shell, who on Saturday afternoon was gunned down while on her front porch with her parents. Police believe both teens charged in Aliyah's murder, as well as family members of Aliyah's, are affiliated with rival street gangs.

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |