CHICAGO — A Pilsen woman is surviving after she was shot in a shootout between her boyfriend and an off-duty Chicago police officer on the Stevenson Expressway last week.
The lawsuit filed on Wednesday claims the officer shot first during the street rage incident, hitting Lizbeth Urbina in the head. Prosecutors allege his girlfriend – a passenger in the car – had aimed a green laser beam at officers prior to the exchange of gunfire last Thursday.
Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report.
Urbina, 24, is a single mother of two daughters, ages 1 and 3, and works at a shoe store in Little Village.
Lizbeth Urbina, 24. Photo provided to Sun-Times Media Wire.
“People love it in this neighborhood,” said Baltazar Enrique, organizer at Little Village. “This is one of our children. He’s part of our family.”
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Enrique says he has made requests for public information with police for any videos and other evidence related to the case. “We don’t want happy trigger officers in our community,” he said.
The shooting took place as the two drivers boarded Interstate 55 from Kedzie Avenue. Urbina was driving when the officer, who was heading to work, got angry and honked his horn when he didn’t pull forward after the light turned green, the lawsuit says.
“This then led to some back and forth interactions between the vehicles,” the lawsuit says, with “mutual disagreements” continuing on the motorway. As the cars tugged at each other, the officer saw a green laser beam directed at him, according to prosecutors.
Police said her boyfriend, David Abarca, had pointed a gun equipped with a laser sight and an illegal switch that made the gun automatic.
Shots were fired from both cars and Urbina was hit in the side of her head, according to the lawsuit. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he remains on a life support and is unable to speak, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that the officer fired first and violated Chicago Police Department regulations by «engaging in an unjustifiable verbal or physical altercation» while off duty. The lawsuit also accuses officers of escalating confrontation and unlawfully using lethal force.
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“Instead of easing the situation in the first place, by slowing down, by pulling over, by getting out, by calling 911 … instead he escalated it,” Urbina’s attorney Richard Dvorak told reporters Wednesday.
“And the result is a young woman who is in the ICU currently fighting for her life,” he said.
The Sun-Times did not name the officer because he has not been charged with a crime. He remains on active duty but his actions are being reviewed by the Chicago Police Department and the Civilian Police Accountability Office.
It is against departmental policy for officers to fire at or from a moving car.
Dvorak said he was preparing to write a letter to State Attorney Kim Foxx demanding to know why Urbina was named a “co-offender” during the initial bond trial against Abarca on Sunday.
“It is outrageous that he is somehow responsible for his own injuries or criminally responsible for what he did,” Dvorak said.
Shootings stemming from street rage escalated along the Chicago freeway. The Illinois State Police said 35% of all highway shootings this year through mid-June were related to road rage. That’s a 12% increase from last year, according to state police.
Source: (Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2022.)