CHICAGO - Chicago police have captured a man suspected of nearly killing an officer over the weekend, three days after he is accused of shooting a 28-year-old woman in the back as he rode a bicycle near downtown.
Michael Blackman, 45, was in critical condition Sunday after he was shot during an armed confrontation with police, authorities said Sunday. As of Monday morning, he had been charged with four counts of attempted murder, according to Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department.
A news conference was slated for later Monday to provide more details, but a time had not been set.
Blackman was captured Saturday afternoon, several hours after he allegedly shot a 40-year-old police officer on Chicago’s South Side. Chicago Deputy Police Chief Brendan Deenihan said Blackman was caught after investigators who were canvassing the Englewood community, where the officer’s shooting took place, obtained surveillance footage that showed Blackman fleeing through a vacant lot several blocks away.
The footage did not show him leave the lot.
Detectives and patrol officers descended upon the area, Deenihan said.
“When they went to go search that lot, this defendant popped up,” Deenihan said. “This is when the gun battle ensued between the defendant and the officers.”
Blackman ran over some railroad tracks, where he encountered more officers. Additional shots were fired, and Blackman was struck multiple times.
“He has eight holes in him at this time and a broken femur,” Deenihan said.
Watch Deputy Police Chief Brendan Deenihan talk about the shooting and capture of Michael Blackman below.
Blackman was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the same hospital where the officer he is accused of shooting was rushed earlier that morning. No officers were injured in the second encounter with Blackman, Deenihan said.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a news conference Saturday that the 16-year veteran officer who was shot serves on the department’s fugitive apprehension team. The team, which was looking for Blackman in connection with Wednesday’s bicycle shooting, went shortly after 8:30 a.m. that morning to a home in the 1900 block of West 65th Street, where Blackman was believed to be hiding, Johnson said.
When members of the team knocked on the door, Blackman ran out the back of the house, where the injured officer and his partner were stationed, Johnson said.
“At that time, a physical struggle ensued, followed by an armed confrontation,” Johnson said.
The unnamed officer was shot in the groin and in the lower leg, doctors said. Fellow officers loaded him into a patrol car and rushed him to the hospital, where he underwent surgery.
He was in stable condition Saturday afternoon.
The officer is completing surgery and is in stable condition. Offender has fled and is considered armed and dangerous. Police units @USMarshalsHQ @ATF_Chicago are responding to and scene searching for gunman. pic.twitter.com/bkM1jKVRBa— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) September 21, 2019
“It is reported that the injured officer had the self-awareness to apply his own tourniquet, as his partner maintained pressure on the gunshot wound on the way to the hospital,” the superintendent said.
Guglielmi tweeted that the officer lost nearly a third of his blood volume.
“He came basically bleeding to death,” trauma surgeon Dr. Jane Kayle Lee said during Saturday’s news conference. “He had already lost a significant amount of blood and was taken emergently to the operating room for surgery.”
Lee said the officer had a hole in one of the largest veins in his leg. She was able to repair the injury.
The surgeon said the bullet to the officer’s groin remains in his body. The gunshot to his leg was a “through-and-through” wound, with both an entrance and exit wound.
The officer suffered significant fractures to his leg when that bullet tore through his body, Lee said. His leg was splinted for the time being, but he will need additional surgery.
“I do expect that he will have a good recovery,” Lee said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who met with the man’s family at the hospital, said the shooting is a reminder of the sacrifice police officers make every day to protect the city’s residents. She also praised the work of the officer’s colleagues in the fugitive apprehension unit.
“Their quick work saved this officer’s life,” Lightfoot said.
She asked the public to pray for the officer’s full recovery.
“I ask that all Chicagoans continue praying for the officer and his family throughout his recovery,” Lightfoot said at the news conference. “Also, keep all of our first responders in our thoughts and prayers because, as the superintendent said, and we see on a daily basis, they run to danger to protect us.”
Like the officer, the woman Blackman is accused of shooting on Wednesday is expected to survive.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the woman was headed to lunch with co-workers around noon in the city’s Fulton Market District when she was shot by a man on a bicycle.
Watch police and city officials, along with medical personnel, speak below about the Saturday shooting of a Chicago police officer.
“Based on the information we have right now, the shooter passed by a group of individuals and went directly to her to extend his arm and fire one single gunshot,” Johnson said at the time, according to the Tribune. “Appears right now the victim may have been targeted by the offender.”
As the gunman fled the scene, the woman was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious to critical condition, the newspaper said. Her condition was unknown Monday.
Police officials released still images and video the day of the shooting that showed the alleged gunman riding his bicycle near the scene of the shooting.
New video from detectives with a better visual of gunman. If you recognize this man or see someone wearing similar clothing in your area, please call 911 or report anonymously on your phone at https://t.co/g9Q1SrKRdK. pic.twitter.com/8mA8Zph52O— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) September 18, 2019
Guglielmi tweeted Friday that detectives had been given a tip to go to a bicycle shop, where they discovered security footage that showed a man fitting the description of the shooter getting his bike fixed about an hour before the woman was shot.
The clearer images, which show a man later identified by police as Blackman, offer a full view of the man’s face as he stands at the counter. At one point, he takes off his black Nike baseball cap and wipes his head with paper towels.
He is seen standing and chatting with the employee working on his bike and leaning on the counter, his wallet out, as he pays his bill. The man smiles several times as he talks to the worker.
Blackman was identified as a suspect in Wednesday’s shooting based in part on the images from the bike shop, Johnson said. His motive in the woman's shooting was unknown as of Saturday.
Detectives were given a tip yesterday to visit a bike shop and we believe the man in this video may be a person of interest in the shooting. If you recognize him, please dial 911 or send us information confidentially & anonymously to https://t.co/g9Q1Srtgmc pic.twitter.com/14zHjubj9v— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) September 20, 2019
The superintendent declined to speculate on Blackman’s state of mind but pointed out that he was accused of shooting two people, including a police officer.
“Obviously, this is not a person that should be walking the streets of Chicago,” Johnson said Saturday while Blackman was still at large. “He’s a dangerous individual. There’s no hiding that.”
Blackman has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1991, Johnson said Saturday. His previous charges range from burglary and domestic battery to drug charges.
He remained hospitalized in police custody Monday morning.