On August 8, 2016 Sgt. Bryan Topczewski responded to a call reporting that a child had been shot. He found 10-year-old Tavon Tanner lying face down inside the house, blood coming from his nose and mouth. Topczewski radioed in and asked if an ambulance was on the way, but there seemed to be some confusion with another shots fired call a few blocks away. Topczewski went and grabbed his pack and started rendering aid. Topczewski applied pressure to the wound, covering it with a compression bandage. Paramedics arrived within a few minutes, scooped up the boy and rushed him to Mount Sinai Hospital.
After investigating the incident, Topczewski went to Mount Sinai to check on Tavon who underwent nearly four hours of surgery at Mount Sinai. The bullet damaged his pancreas, intestines, kidney and spleen as it entered his lower back and lodged in his chest, his mother said. Doctors removed the spleen and repaired the other organs but did not remove the bullet. Recovery was slow for Tavon.
According to Topczewski, “It’s a little kid shot. If you’re a parent, you protect your kids. Whether it’s yours or someone else’s. This is what we do. It’s terrible to see a little young kid get shot in crossfire over, over what? It’s not a way to grow up.”
Sgt. Bryan Topczewski began his career in the 018th District working beat 1823 in Cabrini Green. He completed two tours on the Area Three Mission team working responding to troubled locations as directed by district commanders. He was selected to be on the district gang team dealing with the violence associated with the narcotics trade. Based on his interaction with the gangs and their narcotics sales over the course of several years he was selected to be detailed to the Organized Crime Division to provide intelligence as they conducted the first mission ever run in a High rise Public Housing Unit. Operation “Candyman” identified 19 targets over a 90 day period and was a success in eliminating one of the more violent crews operating in the Cabrini Green Housing Project. Next Sgt. Topczewski was detailed to the Intelligence unit, C.A.G.E team which tracked firearms recovered used in the commission of crimes in the city. The unit worked with personnel from The Illinois state Police, the BATF and the DEA. He left the unit and went to work in the 15th District third watch on the city’s west side. He left the Westside and began working in the 16thDistrict where he was assigned to third watch. He was detailed to the Area Five R.B.T. Detective Division assisting the detectives in identifying offenders and clearing on going crime patterns. He left the 16th District and went to the Mobile Strike Force which operated city wide in areas with high violence and gang conflicts. In the Mobile Strike Force he was taught the LEMART class on basic first aid which he used to help save the life of Travon Tanner. When the unit was disbanded he returned to the 15th District third watch. He made Sergeant in June of 2014 where he was assigned to the 11th District third watch. Sgt. Topczewski has received the Superintendent’s Award of Valor, 4 Department Commendations, 2 Lifesaving Awards, and 77 Honorable Mentions, among many other department awards of recognition.