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Girlfriend: Man thought cops were robbers

One perswas shot killed during Chicago Police covert operati1900 block 171st East Hazel CrestIll.  Wednesday March 20 2013 |

One person was shot and killed during a Chicago Police covert operation in the 1900 block of 171st in East Hazel Crest,Ill. Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | Brian Jackson~Sun Times

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Updated: April 22, 2013 11:57AM

A Chicago Police investigation into a string of robberies in the city led them Tuesday night into south suburban East Hazel Crest, where a man was fatally shot after he allegedly tried to ram a police vehicle while trying to flee, officials said.

The girlfriend of the suspect, 27-year-old Ryan Rogers, said the officers never identified themselves.

But a police source insists they did, and an official with the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police said they also carried badges and radios and wore bullet-proof vests.

“When somebody says, ‘Stop, police,’ you shouldn’t run them over or attempt to run them over,” said FOP field representative Saul Del Rivero. “And that’s what occurred, and this officer, his life is in danger, he’s going to protect himself.”

But L’Nea Lancaster, Rogers’ girlfriend, said Rogers thought he was being robbed.

“They never said, ‘Chicago Police,’ nothing like that,” she said. “They were not in uniform, they were in regular street clothes, they didn’t have badges.”

Del Rivero said the officers learned of the possible fencing in the 1900 block of W. 171st Street in East Hazel Crest of proceeds from robberies of Radio Shacks and similar stores.

East Hazel Crest Police Chief Ray Robertson said his agency was told “a couple weeks ago” about CPD’s investigation in his village.

“We’re not going to go over there with marked squad cars and turn on our blue lights and watch the place,” Del Rivero said.

According to a statement from the Chicago Police Department, detectives saw a male and female get in a vehicle. They approached to investigate, it said, and the male accelerated the vehicle “at a high rate of speed” toward an officer, striking the officer’s vehicle.

The officer fired his weapon out of fear for his life, according to the statement, and struck the male later identified as Rogers. The male fled a short distance in the vehicle before being placed in custody.

Lancaster said she was with Rogers when he was shot, and she said she took the wheel of the car while Rogers began to pass out.

“He said, ‘Baby, they shot me,’” Lancaster said. “I’m shot.”

Lancaster said the whole incident began when she and her boyfriend left their house and walked near their white Chevrolet Trailblazer. That’s when she said a green SUV and a brown van pulled up around the corner “very fast.”

She said one of those two drivers pulled his car up near theirs and said to Rogers, “What’s up, man?”

Lancaster said Rogers simply looked at him and got in the car but she said Rogers was spooked when he realized the man in the van had gotten out of his car and had something in his hand.

Rogers believed he might get robbed, she said.

Lancaster said Rogers put his car in drive and pulled off really fast, sideswiping the van as shots were fired.

The Independent Police Review Authority, which looks into officer-involved shootings, is investigating the matter.

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