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Bail Set At $2 Million For Man Accused In Shooting That Left Police Officer Seriously Wounded

CHICAGO — A man is being held on $2 million bail after a shooting left a Chicago police officer seriously wounded on the Near West Side Friday morning.

Jalen Vales, 27, is charged with two felony counts of attempted first degree murder, one felony count of being an armed habitual criminal and one felony count of aggravated battery against a police officer. He is scheduled to appear in bond court Saturday.

In Cook County bond court Saturday, circuit court Judge Maryam Ahmed set bail at $2 million and ordered him to have no contact with witnesses involved in the incident, citing the seriousness of the allegations against Vales.

Vales was arrested Friday at the 1300 block of West Washburne Avenue near the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, according to a release from the Chicago Police Department,

The shooting occurred in the Little Italy neighborhood Friday morning, when police responded to a domestic call at a residence in the 1300 block of West Taylor Street, about four blocks away from where Vales was arrested, police said. At a news conference later Friday that included Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Police Supt. David Brown said that the officers were immediately fired upon after exiting an elevator, describing the shooting as an “ambush.”

RELATED: Chicago Police Officer Shot, Seriously Wounded On Near West Side: ‘They Were Ambushed’

The officer, who has not been publicly identified but works in the 12th (Near West) Police District, was shot multiple times in the arm and the torso. He was transported to Stroger Hospital with the assistance of a UIC campus police officer, who Brown said likely saved the CPD officer’s life. Brown described the officer’s condition as “serious but stable” on Friday, and said he was alert and responsive.

At the bond hearing Saturday, assistant Cook County state’s attorney Daniel Hanichak said the officer is a 49-year-old man who was shot five times, including two “through-and-through” shots to his arm. The police officer remains hospitalized, Hanichak said.

“His injuries required surgery and as yet there’s no prognosis or timeline for recovery,” Hanichak stated.

Vales and his girlfriend started arguing about an issue with a cellphone Friday morning at her sixth-floor apartment on Taylor Street, Hanichak said. The girlfriend had made six prior domestic violence related police reports regarding Vales, none of which had previously resulted in charges, the prosecutor said.

“[She] was afraid the defendant was going to beat her due to prior domestic violence incidents against her,” Hanichak said.

After Vales continued to advise her, according to the statement of facts, she convinced Vales to gather his belongings so they could both leave the apartment. The girlfriend then told Vales she had forgotten her keys. She returned to the apartment without Vales and locked herself inside. While Vales banged on the door, she texted her mother to call 911 and inform police that the defendant might be armed, Hanichak said.

Two officers arrived on-scene, taking an elevator up to the sixth floor of the building. Upon exiting the elevator, they were confronted by Vales, who was armed with a nine millimeter semi-automatic handgun, according to prosecutors.

“The defendant was hiding around the corner next to the elevators,” Hanichak said. “[He] yelled, ‘there go police right there,’ jumped in front of them, pointed a handgun at them, and opened fire multiple times.”

The other officer, a 32-year-old male, was in the line of fire but was not shot. Hanichak said that officers did not return fire, confirming a statement made by police leadership during Friday’s press conference.

Vales fled the scene after the shooting, resulting in a brief search and chase that involved Chicago Police Department officers and UIC campus police. Vales was eventually found in the Alba Homes public housing development, prosecutors said. Vales slit both his wrists and was transported to Mt. Sinai hospital for treatment and a psychological evaluation, where he remains, according to Hanichak.

Hanichak said that the officers’ body camera footage captured the entire incident inside the apartment building, and that private surveillance video as well as a number of police witnesses confirmed the defendant’s identity in the aftermath of the shooting. Body camera footage has not yet been released publicly. Hanichak also said ballistics from a handgun found in a garbage can on Fillmore Street matched ammunition casings found in the apartment building.

Vales, a convicted felon, was on parole for a 2018 conviction for unlawful use or possession of a firearm by a felon when the incident occurred, according to prosecutors. He was sentenced to six years in state prison custody for the 2018 conviction, and released in February with two years of probation.

“The victims in this case responded to a domestic disturbance and were essentially ambushed by this defendant,” Hanichak said. “These officers could easily have been killed, based upon the actions of this multi-time convicted felon and armed habitual criminal.”

Judge Ahmed continued the case to Tuesday.

Last month, two Chicago police officers as well as a US Marshall were seriously wounded in shootings over the course of one week. Both Chicago police officers, who were shot during traffic stops, recovered from their wounds and were released from hospitals later in June. An offender has been charged in connection with one of the shootings, according to a release from the Chicago Police Department last month.

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