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Today, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation honors Officer Corry Williams, Detectives Robert Smith and Matthew McDonough, and Sergeant John Pellegrini for incidents involving armed robberies and carjackings that have plagued the Chicago area.
The first incident occurred on December 1st in the Beverly neighborhood near the home of Sergeant John Pellegrini, a 27 year veteran assigned to Area South Detective Bureau. Sgt Pellegrini had just put his car away in his own garage when he spotted a suspect approaching him. The suspect demanded money and pointed an automatic handgun at the Sergeant. The sergeant told the suspect “you can have anything you want’ and saw the suspect use both hands to rack the slide of the gun back. Fearing for his own life, and knowing his family was just steps away, the sergeant pulled out his own handgun and fired at the suspect, who stumbled briefly, dropped his gun and although wounded, managed to run away. The sergeant chased the suspect and notified police of the robbery, giving a detailed description of the suspect and direction of flight. Chicago Police detectives and Evergreen Park police responded and were able to secure witnesses and evidence that led to the capture of the juvenile offender who is suspected of numerous other armed violence offences in the Beverly area.
The next incident occurred on December 18th around 6:30 pm, when Officer Corry Williams, an 18 year police officer, was sitting in his own car just a few blocks from police headquarters. Officer Williams was off duty when he was approached by two suspects, one who tapped on the passenger side window to distract him while the second suspect opened his car door and brandished a handgun, demanding his car. Utilizing his training, Officer Williams fired a single shot into the suspect. The police were called and an ambulance arrived who took the suspect to the hospital. A hand gun was recovered at the scene. The 18 year old suspect had an extensive criminal record and was charged with attempted vehicular hijacking with a firearm, attempted robbery with a firearm and aggravated assault. The second suspect escaped.
Lastly, we are pleased to honor Area Central Bureau Detectives Robert Smith and Matthew McDonough, for capturing a crew of suspects possibly involved in over two dozen incidents of armed violence, including robberies and carjackings. In October and November last year, there were nearly 40 cases of armed robberies in the Westtown and Ukranian Village area. The detectives, with a combined 37 years of experience among them, and due to their knowledge of the various gangs and robbery crews in the area, identified a pattern, and started to piece the evidence together, identifying one crew in particular. The detectives used a photo array of the suspects showing these to numerous victims who identified them as the armed robbers. While continuing the investigation, they monitored a radio call of a carjacking that just occurred near Chicago and Racine and soon police spotted the suspects who lead the police on a chase onto the Eisenhower expressway into Oak Park where the suspects crashed the vehicle and fled on foot. Numerous police officers from Chicago and Oak Park helped to capture two offenders and recovered a semi-automatic handgun with an extended clip, just like the one used in the multiple robberies. The detectives identified additional offenders and four suspects were charged in seven aggravated vehicular hijackings and armed robberies. We believe that an additional 15 cases will be cleared by these arrests and yet another 12 to 15 cases are waiting the processing of additional evidence that might lead to more charges.
This morning we honor these fine men as an example of good police work done by countless officers every single day. When asked about these incidents, Deputy Chief Kevin Ryan of Area Central said:
“These incidents illustrate not only our Police Officers professionalism, dedication and heroism, but further show that even off-duty, they hold to their oaths, and uphold the expectations of their vocations. They refuse to allow criminals to prey on our communities.”
This morning, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is honored to make these four men our February Officers of the Month. Officer Corry Williams; Detective Robert Smith, Detective Matthew McDonough, and Sergeant John Pellagrini.