Mark Czapla is an officer of 14 years with the Chicago Police Department. He spent a majority of his career working on the streets of the 015th District before moving into the 020th District. On the cold night of 14 Feb 2015, Officer Czapla and his partner Officer Joe Groh found themselves in a Walgreen’s parking lot (Czapla was planning on buying his wife a Valentines Day card) when they observed a commotion.
Employees of the store were following a subject who had stolen numerous items.Naturally, the officers confronted the sizeable subject and informed him he would be arrested for shoplifting. Within moments the thief became agitated and began to resist the lawful arrest. After striking the officers, the words of, “he’s going for my gun…he’s got my gun,” were heard by Officer Czapla; the assailant some how had managed to disarm Officer Groh, pulling his pistol out of the holster.
Immediately thereafter, a round had been shot at the officers during the struggle; the shot had missed the intended targets. With the intensity increasing, Officer Czapla was finally able to gain control of the pistol and pull it out of the hands of the assailant, a former Army veteran. Heroically, two citizens, Ray Robinson and Christopher Smith, also came to the aid to help gain control of the situation.
With responding officers from the 020th and even 024th Districts, the assailant was arrested. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder, disarming a peace officer, and possession of a controlled substance; his bail was set at 2 million dollars.