A police officer narrowly escaped gunfire Tuesday when he pulled up to the scene of an attempted break-in on West McKinley Street and was shot at by the would-be burglars who remain at large, police said.
The three men, who had just stolen a car from a home on nearby Van Buren Street, fired at least two shots at the officer, police spokesman Sgt. Don Stone said.
One of the bullets pierced the front windshield of the officer’s patrol unit and hit the dashboard in front of where he was sitting, Stone said.
“If the bullet had hit an inch higher, it would have hit the officer in the chest,” Stone said.
The officer, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, was not struck or injured, Stone said.
The officer did not return fire, Stone said.
By the time he got out of his vehicle, the three men who attacked the officer were running away, Stone said.
The attempted shooting occurred just before 5 a.m. after police received a call about someone trying to kick in a back door at 860 W. McKinley St., Stone said.
When the officer arrived, he saw a silver four-door Chevrolet parked in front of the residence with its light on, Stone said. The people inside the car flashed the car’s lights, Stone said.
The officer thought the people in the Chevrolet were the people who reported the attempted break-in, Stone said. Instead, they were the attempted burglars, Stone said.
All three men got out of the car as the officer pulled his patrol unit in front of it, Stone said. At least one of the men fired shots at the officer, Stone said.
Investigators are trying to determine whether the shots came from the same or multiple weapons, Stone said.
Prior to the incident on West McKinley, Stone said, the men burglarized a home at 706 Van Buren St., Stone said.
Among other things, Stone said, the men stole the homeowner’s car and backed it out of the garage without opening the garage door, damaging both the door and the car.
Concetta Delouise, 85, stood in her kitchen Tuesday afternoon and listed the things the men took from her home, where she has lived for the past 61 years. A flat-screen television, a cellphone, jewelry, credit cards, makeup and a wallet were on Delouise’s list.
“They even ate my peaches,” she said, pointing to a smashed piece of the fruit on her back doorstep.
Delouise was asleep in her bedroom when the burglars broke into the back of her house, she said. She must not have heard the men because of her air conditioning unit, Delouise said, adding that she also sleeps with her bedroom and hallway doors closed.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I can’t believe I slept through all that.”
Delouise didn’t wake up until police banged on her bedroom door and told her she had been burglarized, she said.
When she walked into her kitchen, every drawer had been opened and ransacked, she said.
Although frustrating and frightening, Tuesday’s break-in, the first since she’s lived on Van Buren, will not force her out of her home, Delouise said.
“I can’t just go run and hide,” she said. “I’m happy here.”
A resident at the West McKinley home where the attempted shooting occurred declined comment.
Anyone with information about this incident can contact police at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.