Identity Released: Chicago Police Officer Fatally Shot in Car in River North, Another in Car Wounded

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First deputy superintendent Anthony Ricco holds a news conference after an off-duty officer was fatally shot in River North early Saturday morning.

Chicago police, firefighters and medics responded about 3:30 a.m. Saturday March 23, 2019 when an off-duty Chicago police officer was shot and killed after leaving a River North bar. Chicago police say the crime initially appears to have been a random act of violence.

According to the Chicago Police Department, Officer John Rivera, age 23, was sitting in a vehicle in the block of 700 North Clark Street near Clark Street and Huron Street about 3:30 a.m. Saturday when two males approached the vehicle. One male offender fired shots into the car, striking Rivera in the chest, arm and mouth. Another man, age 23, sitting in the vehicle was also shot and wounded.

Rivera was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:50 a.m. The 23-year-old man in the vehicle, who was also shot, was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, but is expected to recover. Johnson said the investigation is still preliminary, but at this time the shooting appears to be random.

“Each and every day we dedicate our professional lives to protect this city and fight for victims of gun violence, but today we grieve alongside the countless number of other Chicago families also torn apart by reckless acts of individuals who feel undeterred to use and carry guns in the City of Chicago.”

— Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson

After finishing their shift about 10 p.m., Rivera and another officer were out with a third man and a woman, police said. They were sitting in their vehicle after leaving a late-night bar and pizzeria when the shooting occurred.

Johnson and Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio said police are examining footage from a large number of cameras downtown, and have not found any evidence of a confrontation prior to the shooting. It appears the car was specifically targeted, and does not appear to have been a carjacking or robbery attempt, Johnson said.

“They were seated inside of the vehicle, we know they did not have any sort of confrontations with anybody, they did not have any type of incidents that we believe would have provoked any type of shootings or confrontation,” Riccio said.

Rivera had worked for the police department for just under two years in the Gresham district on the city’s South Side.

Supt. Johnson said the crime scene is the same district he served as an officer and police commander, and it’s also where his son currently serves as a Chicago police officer. Johnson said Rivera had spent his final shift investigating a murder and consoling a family who lost a loved one.

“This appears to be an unprovoked attack against a group of individuals who went out to unwind on a Friday night,” Johnson said.

“This kid is 23 years old, his whole life and career ahead of him, and he’s gunned down senselessly,” Johnson said. “From what I know about him – he’s the kind of officer we want in Chicago. A hard worker who loved going out and solving problems.”

Investigators believe they have person in custody who was with was with the shooter.

“Mark my words: we will find them,” Johnson said as police continue their search for the shooter.

Police say Officer John Rivera had wrapped up a shift around 10 p.m. Friday and was unwinding with some friends, when a group of people, possibly thinking he was someone else, opened fire.



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