Off-duty Chicago cop’s dispute with neighbor turns deadly
BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA AND LEEANN SHELTON Staff Reporters April 26, 2014 12:51AM
The scene where 2 people were shot in the 8400 block of South Carpenter. Friday, April 25, 2014. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times
Updated: May 27, 2014 6:17AM
An off-duty Chicago Police officer allegedly shot and killed an elderly neighbor Friday after the man shot the officer’s wife, authorities said.
The shootings came after an argument between the police officer’s wife and the dead man’s wife, police said in a statement.
The dead man was identified by his family as Joe Huff Jr., 86, of the 8400 block of South Carpenter. The man’s 90-year-old wife, Hazel, also was shot by the police officer, officials said. Chicago police said the officer’s wife had been shot by Huff.
Both women were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with non-life-threatening injuries, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
At approximately 2:15 p.m., the off-duty officer was at his home in the 8400 block of South Carpenter when he heard a verbal altercation between his wife and a female neighbor, according to police News Affairs.
“The officer went to the backyard to investigate and observed the female offender throwing dirt and rocks at the officer’s wife and striking her with a broom. A male subject in the neighbors’ backyard then entered that residence and returned with a shotgun and fired shots striking the officer’s wife in the arm and head,” a statement from News Affairs said.
“Fearing for his life and the life of his wife, the officer discharged his weapon, striking the male offender. The female offender then attempted to pick up the shotgun while ignoring verbal direction by the off-duty officer,” the statement continued. “In fear of his life, the off-duty officer then fired his weapon striking the female offender.”
Police said the elderly man was pronounced dead on the scene. The “female offender” was treated at the hospital and released, while the “female victim” was hospitalized in stable condition, police said.
The incident was under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority, according to IPRA spokesman Larry Merritt.
Relatives and neighbors of the elderly couple described a different scenario.
“The whole block is aware of the long-going battle between these two families. It’s been going on for a couple of years,” said Taniesha Clay, whose grandmother lives on the block.
“Last year, myself and other neighbors saw the officer and his wife attack Mr. Huff. The officer handcuffed him to a gate, and his wife was allowed to batter him with a shovel. It was early in the morning, and we all saw it,” Clay said. “It is not what the police are portraying.”
Another Clay relative heard Friday’s altercation, Clay said. “She heard Mr. Huff screaming . . . by the time she got outside, he was dead.”
Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden said the shooting happened during a dispute across a backyard fence, initially between the two women. The neighbor allegedly called for her husband, to “get that thing,” and the elderly man came out with a shotgun and fired at the officer’s wife, striking her in the upper chest and arm area, according to Camden.