By Madeline Buckley Chicago Tribune
AURORA, Ill. — A 36-year-old Aurora man killed Thursday night during a downtown shootout with police was free on bond for felony charges related to illegally possessing a gun on Sunday.
“He was able to bond out, that is his constitutional right,” Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said during a press conference Friday at the police department on East Indian Trail Road. “… Unfortunately this was the outcome. He was in possession of another firearm.”
During the shootout, an Aurora police investigator was shot in the leg, sustaining what police described as a graze wound. Another investigator’s shoulder was injured when he was taking cover from the gunfire, police said.
“It’s unfortunate that a criminal decided to carry a gun and fire upon police officers last night and it’s a shame there was a loss of life because of that criminal action,” said Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin at the press conference. “ Yet the quick actions and preparedness of our officers prevented the situation from escalating and being much much worse, ensuring that no innocent bystanders were harmed.”
Ziman said Santiago Calderon, 36, of the 700 block of East Galena Boulevard, Aurora, was driving an SUV followed by investigators with the department’s special operations group. The investigators were wearing tactical uniforms and driving an unmarked police vehicle that’s not equipped with in-squad video cameras, Ziman said. Aurora police officers do not have body cameras.
Investigators are still on scene of an officer involved shooting in Aurora. We know one suspect is dead and two officers are being treated at the hospital. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/ePJJFrUCEY
— Vi Nguyen (@ViNguyen) March 23, 2018
Calderon’s autopsy is pending with the Kane County Coroner. Coroner Rob Russell could not be immediately reached Friday.
About 9:45 p.m. Thursday, Ziman said, the investigators followed a green Chevrolet SUV driven by Calderon with a 24-year-old Aurora man as passenger from a “known gang house” on the 200 block of South Lake Street to the first block of East Galena Boulevard, where they had it pull over. Police did not say how long the investigators had been watching the house before they saw the SUV leave.
Ziman said the stop was called in before the shooting, and the unmarked squad had blue and red lights that were activated during the stop, but said she was unclear on why the car was stopped.
Calderon shot at officers, then drove away eastbound, striking a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu at Galena and Route 25, Ziman said. The Malibu’s driver, a 19-year-old Aurora man, was its only occupant and declined medical treatment, Ziman said.
After the crash, Calderon ran from the SUV, exchanging gunfire with two investigators, police said.
“During the exchange of gunfire, Calderon was fatally shot in the parking lot on South Street between Galena and Downer Place,” Ziman said.
The officers went to render aid and saw a gun at Calderon’s side, Ziman said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, she said.
Both investigators were treated and released from an Aurora hospital, police said.
Responding officers took Calderon’s passenger, who remained at the scene, into custody and have since released him without charges, Ziman said.
Police still on scene more than nine hours after an officer-involved shooting in Aurora. This is the vantage point from Galena and Lincoln. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/MMvBUmVo4t
— Vi Nguyen (@ViNguyen) March 23, 2018
“I want to express my sympathy to the family of Mr. Calderon,” Ziman said. “Despite his actions that resulted in this outcome, we know he is a father and a son and that is not lost on us. Our police officers did an exemplary job last night. They were engaged in proactive policing and when the offender opened fire upon them, they responded courageously and rapidly to contain the threat.”
Ziman said the investigators involved, Matthew Huber and Colin Griffin, have each been with the department for 10 years. Both are on paid administrative leave while the case is under investigation, which is standard with any officer-involved shooting, Ziman said.
Ziman said she believed investigators used the proper force.
“When officers are fired upon, we are going to respond,” Ziman said.
Though the investigators’ car did not have video, Ziman said police are getting footage from witnesses and some responding squad cars had cameras. The independent task force heading the investigation is also in the process of determining whether any surveillance cameras on nearby buildings caught the shooting, Ziman said.
The Kane County Major Crimes Task Force is handling the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
While the shooting occurred downtown, Ziman said downtown is still “very safe.”
Chicago Tribune reporter Madeline Buckley contributed to this report.
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