On February, 18, 2014 at approximately 11:18 AM, P.O. Abraham Lara was on routine patrol in the 011th District. As he approached the area of 514 N. Hamlin, Officer Lara came upon an individual discharging an automatic weapon. Without hesitation, Lara announced his presence as a police officer and engaged the shooter. Instead of surrendering, the offender fired on Officer Lara and escaped in a waiting white Kia Optima. The officer relayed the events to responding officers and gave a detailed description of the armed offenders and their vehicle.
Officer Mario Mendoza, Officer Robert Caulfield and Officer Mike Alaniz heard Officer Lara’s call of “shots fired” at the police and went to assist. While en route, the officers spotted the offenders, activated their emergency equipment and attempted to curb the fleeing vehicle. The offenders refused to stop and attempted to elude the officers.
In the area of 28th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway, the squad pulled alongside the offender’s vehicle and one of the occupants pointed a Tech 9 automatic firearm in the officers’ direction. Officer Caulfield and Officer Mendoza, in fear for their safety, fired several shots at the offender who kept popping up and down in the rear of the vehicle. As the offenders exited the expressway at 35th Street, Officer Alaniz fired on the fleeing vehicle causing the driver to lose control and crash.
Weapons drawn, the three officers tactfully approached the offender’s vehicle. P.O. Mendoza opened the rear passenger door and found one of the offenders pointing his gun directly at the officer. Mendoza immediately fired on the offender and neutralized the threat. Officers Caulfield and Alaniz then moved in and were able to take the remaining offenders into custody.
P.O. Abe Lara joined the Chicago Police Department in October of 1995. He has spent his entire career in the 011th District where he has served on the Area 4 Midnight Tact Team and Gang Team. He is currently assigned to the 2nd Watch.
P.O. Robert Caulfield joined the Chicago Police Department in August of 2007. He began his police career in the 009th District and moved to the Area Central Saturation Team in 2012. He is currently assigned to the 005th District Tact Team. Officer Caulfield has more than 100 honorable mentions, 3 Department commendations and multiple complimentary letters. He has also been honored with the “Back of the Yards” Award and was presented the “Hero Award” at the “Battle of the Badges” in 2014. Officer Caulfield is the proud father of two young daughters.
P.O. Michael Alaniz joined the Chicago Police Department in February of 2003. He began his career in the 009th District and worked there for 10 years before moving to Area Central Saturation. Officer Alaniz is currently assigned to the 009th District.
P.O. Mario Mendoza is a 13-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. He began his career in the 011th District where he was the regular partner of fallen Chicago police officer Michael Gordon. Officer Mendoza has also worked in the Special Operations Section, Mobile Strike Force, Area 1 Saturation and the 002nd District. He is currently assigned to Area Central Saturation.