Chicago officer shot and killed in Austin, reward offered

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

A reward fund to find the person who killed an off-duty Chicago police officer, Dec. 29, has grown to $13,000, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Officer Clifton Lewis, 41, was working a part-time security job at M&M Foods, 1201 N. Austin Blvd., when two armed men wearing masks came in around 8:30 p.m. and tried to rob the store, Chicago Police Department Supt. Garry McCarthy said at a press conference Dec. 30.

Lewis, an eight-year veteran of the department, who was assigned to the 15th District Tactical Team, drew his weapon before he was shot by one of the offenders, McCarthy said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died.

The offenders fled the scene. Police are investigating "some significant leads" in the case, McCarthy said, including surveillance video from the store. It appears from the video that the offenders had a handgun and another gun, possibly similar to a 9mm automatic.

But he added that police need the public's help to find the offenders.

First Deputy Supt. Al Wysinger called Lewis a gentle giant with a courageous heart. He joined Ald. Deborah Graham (29th Ward) and other police officials in asking residents of Austin and Oak Park to come forward with any information.

Those who come forward should call 1-888-976-7468, McCarthy said. The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation (CPMF) has offered $11,000 for information leading to the arrests, and community leaders and ministers have pooled another $2,000, according to the Tribune.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement, Dec. 30, calling Lewis' death a "tragic and senseless loss" for his family, his colleagues and for the city of Chicago.

"Officer Lewis died as he had lived, serving and protecting his community," Emanual said. "His courage and sense of duty to the city are examples for us all."

Lewis left behind a young daughter, a fiancée, a loving family and many close friends, according to a statement from the CPMF.

There will be a ceremonial arrival of his casket at 9 a.m. Thursday at United Baptist Church, 4242 W. Roosevelt Road, followed by a public viewing at 10 a.m. and a service led by the St. Jude Police League at 10:45 a.m. A public funeral for Lewis will be held at 11 a.m.

Reader Comments

56 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

OP rez  

Posted: January 6th, 2012 3:24 PM

My condolences to his friends and family. At this point we can only hope that something good comes from this event, such as a harder line against crime, and more police presence in Austin with more communication with residents... sadly I don't believe this will happen as it's Chicago political tradition to put more focus on affluent areas, even if they're much safer. I truly hope efforts are made past the quieting of this event, but I feel like it will be business as usual in the near future.

DATA HOUND  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 4:55 PM

Carzkill, go to the link and look at DC. way different picture. I wonder what the Chicago data would be? Go grab your gun and have some fun... you may have to google the reference.

CARZ KILL  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 4:19 PM

Thank you to Gunz Kill and Data Hound for proving my points: 1) People with cars kill more people than people with guns do and 2) gun ownership is a Constitutional Right, whereas driving is a mere privilege.

IGNORANZ KILL  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 11:26 AM

All of you go find somewhere else to argue; this man is being laid to rest today. Please show some respect and common sense for his family. How would you feel if this was your father, brother or son?

HEY CARZ KILL  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 10:29 AM

I'm sorry everyone :( He's like The Candy Man. If we keep saying his name he will appear. My apologies to everyone who he will annoy with his next dissertation of comments.

HEY CARZ KILL  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 10:27 AM

Why hasn't GUNZ commented about the article link you provided? Come to think of it he's right, guns do kill... home invaders and illegal intruders in your home. Now I feel better about the issue :) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/04/mom-kills-intruder_n_1183336.html

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 10:03 AM

Visiting boy, 15, gunned down on South Side porch Updated 9:30 a.m. Police officer killed, 5 wounded in Utah drug raid Updated 7:49 a.m.

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 10:32 PM

Parole Agent Shot In The Face, Manhunt Closes Part Of 210 Freeway. Navy Pilots Die in Triple Murder-Suicide.

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 7:38 PM

Guns were put here to KILL. Cars were put here to get people from a to b. Over all when you look at the outcomes when used, cars definitely kill less!!!!!Every time a gun is fired, more times than not, it will be to kill someone or pretend to kill someone(targets in a range).

DATA HOUND  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 7:32 PM

just sniffed this out:http://www.datamasher.org/mash-ups/firearm-deaths-vs-vehicle-deaths#table-tab In Ill death rates per 100K, 8 for guns and 10 for cars. when you consider how many cars (10.4 million according to cyberdrive Illinois)there are compared to guns (can't find a # but as an example I own 3 vehicle and no guns)statistically guns are a bigger problem than cars. and you can't conceal and carry a car into a school or store and kill someone.

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 7:31 PM

Driving is a PRIVILEGE.

Stop the Maddness  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 6:59 PM

8th grader shot and killed, by police in BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Police say the weapon a Texas eighth-grader pointed at officers in a school hallway before they killed him was a pellet gun that looked like a real handgun.

CARZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 3:30 PM

Man dies after car accident: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-man-80-dies-after-vehicle-accident-in-tinley-park-20120101,0,290023.story STOP THE MADNESS! BAN CARZ!

CARZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 3:29 PM

Teens die in car wreck: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-teens-killed-in-i57-wreck-identified-20120102,0,3800737.story

CARZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 3:28 PM

Illegal immigrant who killed pedestrian flees after DUI charge: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0104-20120104,0,679409.column

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 3:20 PM

Handyman found shot to death in S. Side building Updated 12:36 p.m. Woman in car assaulted, robbed on Southwest Side Updated 11:51 a.m. Murder charges filed in August slaying Updated 16 hours ago

CARZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 3:09 PM

Recently widowed young single mom with 3 month old shoots knife wielding intruder while on 911 call waiting for cops... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/04/mom-kills-intruder_n_1183336.html ...guns do not kill, cars do...

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 2:50 PM

Guns have no place in our society. We should all work collectively to rid them and be a safer place. The amazing thing is this happens EVERYDAY people. When will it stop???

Joe Coffey  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 1:05 PM

The victim doesnt have to be a corrupt cop (sorry - there are plenty in Chicago)to have been the victim of a professional hit. The fact that his star was taken and nothing robbed could lead one to believe that this was not simply a robbery gone bad. People are complex: none are all good or all bad.

Mari from Oak Park  

Posted: January 4th, 2012 11:00 AM

The senseless violence that stole this innocent man's life makes me very sad. I have to wonder how much Officer Lewis was making at his full-time job that he had to work a second job at a convenience store. Perhaps we should rethink how much (or, unfortunately, how little) we pay our police officers who risk their lives on a daily basis for the safety of the community. I feel for this officer's family, especially his young daughter.

T.J. from OP  

Posted: January 3rd, 2012 5:02 PM

Yes, shame on Oak Parker for suggesting that officer Lewis might have been corrupt. This is a baseless suggestion that should not have been made. Besides, why would someone "corrupt" be working a side job at a convenience store. He wouldn't that's why.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 3rd, 2012 4:28 PM

Shameful to post a comment questioning this man's integrity. Adding "regardless" does not excuse the fact that you cited rumors to discredit the victim.

Oak Parker  

Posted: January 3rd, 2012 3:31 PM

Some of the information in this article contradicts what Ive read in other articles regarding this incident. My understanding was that two individuals entered the store, shot him right away, removed his weapon and credentials, then fled without robbing the store. Seems more like a professional hit than a robbery to me. Ive also heard rumors that this officer was corrupt. Regardless, a tragic loss and he will be missed.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 3rd, 2012 12:04 AM

Thank you, T.J.

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: January 1st, 2012 7:34 PM

I think the gun people think if everyone had a gun and a bullet proof vest life would be grand! NOT

So sad...  

Posted: January 1st, 2012 6:15 PM

It is so sad to read about Officer Clifton Lewis being murdered. How can we ask people charged with protecting us to be ready to lose their lives at any moment? As a society, we have to develop the resolve not to tolerate violence. It never gains the perpetrators the power they seek, not really, not for long. We have to get behind law enforcement officers, the good ones, and help them do their jobs. God bless Officer Lewis, a martyr to our violent times, and God bless his grieving loved ones.

Berwyn  

Posted: January 1st, 2012 2:55 PM

Scum will always exist. You can move it but you can not delete it completely.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 1st, 2012 2:09 PM

A bit more on loitering and crime. Two years ago the SE corner of Pulaski and Jackson was the scariest place in Chicago. Hundreds of people hung out outside a party store on the corner and the vacant land behind it. It was also the filthiest spot in Chi. The ChiPD and other depts cracked down. They closed the store, probably for heath violations, they cleared the lot of all the junk (barbacues, sack sleepers, etc. and ticket people for littering, vagrance, etc. It worked. The store has reopened, the loiterers vastly reduced, and the area is cleaner. NY Mayor Guiliani cracked down on petty and nuisance crime in the 90's and it resulted in a decline in overall crime. It could be a step toward a westside Chi crime solution.

Op Rez  

Posted: January 1st, 2012 11:57 AM

Now, in addition to trying to catch the killers, let's see if CPD try to put more effort into fighting crime in Austin and making it a safer place. I am really not hopeful about any significant change in Austin as Chicago's typical tradition is to ignore poor areas, and be in favor for the north side... Let's see if the city lets this officer die in vain.

Rez  

Posted: January 1st, 2012 4:43 AM

Q, family up bringing has a huge affect on how developed or undeveloped a person is, as do friends... It is true that there are exceptions where individuals raise above their circumstances, but sadly the majority of people brought by undeveloped parents will be undeveloped... These parents need some re-education, lessons in parenting, responsibility and accountability. How do kids turn out when their single teen mothers are partying every night, and fathers are away making more single mothers?

D  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 7:12 PM

John, I disagree with you. I dont think fighting gun violence with more gun violence will solve any of our problems!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 6:29 PM

I was raised in Brooklyn NY in a middle class neighborhood that bordered on poorer neighborhoods with high crime, some violent. We also had gang problems. The PD defensive strategy was to not allow crowds to form and to break them up immediately. It was not unknown for the PD to empty out an ice cream parlor if they sensed trouble. Of all the cities I have lived in or near, Chicago PD is the worst at breaking up loiterers particularly in bad neighborhoods. We need to stop criminal activity before it becomes crime.

John from OP  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 5:12 PM

Here is another great reason we all should have the right to carry and conceal a GUN. The GUN that killed this officer was being concealed and ready to be used against Anyone of US. Fight Back!

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 3:04 PM

Q, I'll point the finger at the criminal justice system that permits these predators to be part of a civilized society. The thugs who murdered this police officer are most likely not first time offenders. They'll have criminal records dating back to when they were juveniles. Law enforcement arrests them for their crimes and we rely on the courts to make certain they are punished and only released from custody when they have proven not to be a threat to others. That's were the system breaks down. End plea bargains and require maximum sentencing for violent crime. It's really a very small percentage of the population who are responsible for the misery and havoc. Isolate and confine these dangerous individuals from society and focus on intervention for those who demonstrate a willingness to reform.

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 2:51 PM

There is a heartbreaking article in the Trib today. I cried. It's senseless. Apparently the animals may have used an automatic weapon.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 2:34 PM

Continued.. gets released and then commits another crime that is high profile, people ask why was he ever released? Do we build more jails? Who gets released sooner than someone else? People have be sent to prison for murder and are released sooner then you would expect.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 2:29 PM

Frank Furillo, there is no way to rid society of this, it is just an element that exists in some undeveloped human beings. It has nothing to do with family up bringing and love. You can give a kid everything, and it won't change the direction someone takes. Trying to develop solutions is a waste of time, but a nice thing to say. It's apparent prison is the only thing that keeps the bad separated from people who want to be productive. Problem is the system gets overcrowded and when an immate

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 12:08 PM

My heart goes out to Officer Lewis' family. What a horrible thing to happen. Does the WJ know whether there is a fund set up to cover the costs of his funeral & services? I would like to donate if possible.

Frank Furillo  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 10:23 AM

Let there be no confusion: this was a cowardly, vile, senseless act, and the men who did this should never see the light of day again. Going forward, how do we stop it from happening agin. We identified the problem: senseless violence. Let's solve it and and not concentrate on the past criminals, but creating a society that doens't excuse bad behavior and irresponsibility. We spend more time on describing the swamp then figuring out how to drain it. We need realistic, practical solutions.

Frank Furillo  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 10:17 AM

Q, how do we get these savages off the streets? How do we make sure we exterminate the slaughterers before they kill the good guys? I know what we concretely should NOT do. Tell me concretely how we solve the problem of these slaughterers. How do we seperate the wheat from the chaff? It starts with bad parenting. Do we jail bad parents? Will you pay a dedicated tax for such jails? Sterilization? Seems reasonable to stop the sewer burps? Are we willing to go that far to solve the slaughterer

GUNZ KILL  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 9:42 AM

...and also get rid of the weapon of choice-GUNS!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 9:16 AM

Frank Furillo, take a look at the picture of Officer Clifton Lewis. He was slaughtered trying to earn extra income. Take a very close look at his smile and eyes. They are full of life and joy, and that is what he gave to others. Go ahead and think about the love kids need in families so they don't grow up to slaughter others just working a job. Better yet, invite some of this punks in to your home to change them with your feel good love.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 9:12 AM

Frank Furillo, lets reverse this. There are a lot of kids who grow up in difficult family environments. With your thinking, there should be a lot more brutal, cold blooded killings. The two savages that get burped up from the bottom of the sewers have a good likely hood of being a couple of teenagers who will most likely be found in a week. All these other posts about Oak Park are ridiculous. Many of you must not have ventured much in the outside World.

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 8:42 AM

If this crime had happend on the other side of Austin I can tell you how the newspaper headlines would read. The Oak Park Chief of Police would be quoted as saying the crime was an "isolated" incident. Tanksley makes this isolated claim to the media every single time there is a murder in Oak Park. I wish the man could be honest for once in his career. I know he simply give the quote that the village board wants him to say, but that doesn't make it true.

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 8:30 AM

The Oak Park area is simply becoming too dangerous to live in. It's a roll of the dice every year we continue to live in this village. I figure if you have a family of four, and live here for 10 years, one of you will fall victim to a life altering crime. Not too far from the truth? The cons are outweighing the pros of Oak Park.

Op Rez  

Posted: December 31st, 2011 2:04 AM

This is a horrific tragedy, but I'm sad to say I'm not the least bit surprised that it happened. With the amount of thugs with guns walking around in Austin it's only a matter of time that this happened. It's only receiving this amount of attention because the victim is an officer and not a resident. There needs to be more accountability of both criminals, and the parents that raise these criminals alike. I hope this incident helps to change things, but I doubt it will.

Frank Furillo  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 8:50 PM

Q, what exactly is responsible for you NOT being a savage, or a sociopath, or from the bottom of the sewer? Was it your upbringing? Was it the love of a family and parents?

lori from formerly from oak park  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 8:21 PM

I grew up in Oak Park. I remember when the Austin neighborhood was very beautiful & safe. Children played outside, people walked to the bus & took the "L" train. We went to the "mud hole" in the summer. It was a magical time. The Village of Oak Park thought it would be really neat to outlaw hand guns for its residents. Then the gangs came in with drugs.They have guns. The people aren't allowed to own them so gangs know this & just keep robbing the residents. Drugs & guns. It's no longer safe.

b  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 7:08 PM

ok before wednesday journal removes my comments yes he drew his gun but it was 2 vs 1 and and the offenders had automatic weapons there are far more details on the crime on chicagobreakingnews

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 5:38 PM

Change that guy to a gun

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 5:38 PM

Violet, I would think the have security cameras. Let me ask you this. If you were standing in a store with a guy in your holster, and a robber comes in with a gun already pulled and notices you going for your gun, who do you think is going to fire first?

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 5:35 PM

I wasn't even going there. I just can't believe that an armed cop didn't get his weapon out at least. I wonder how this all went down. They probably have some video of it or perhaps the clerk's account.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 5:22 PM

Violet, I can understand your concern, but try to understand that stores in Barrington, have security. Thefts are just part of our society and so are murders, regardless what weapon they use. When they get these savages, take a look at their pictures. Their expression will be empty of emotion. They lack compassion and most likely they are sociopaths. Don't make any excuses that their environment made them take this direction.

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 4:48 PM

@Q: But what about having stores in areas like this? I think it's so horrible that a man can't have a shop without getting killed! Same with another guy on North Ave. last year or before. I think he was from Glen Ellyn, good to the community and someone does him like that. I question the logic of having to hire a cop at least part of the time. Is the store still very profitable, especially given the apparent danger? Sheesh, it's on the border of OP, for God's sake!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 3:45 PM

You're jumping early Violet. The bottom of the sewer will be shaken up, and these savages will be burped up. Violet, the sad thing is, with all the training, you there is no way anyone can read minds, and only interpret actions. When they are caught, they should never ever be able to get out. They are the worse of the worse.

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 2:20 PM

Oh, what a horrible thing to happen! RIP, officer. This is the one on the Chicago side of Division, from the looks of it. It's amazing that it happened at a relatively early hour (8:30 pm). Obviously the officer was armed so I wonder how he was not able to draw his weapon. Those security guards (like in banks) don't even have weapons. I wonder if it really even pays to keep a shop in that area if you have to hire a cop at night...

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