UIC police officer helps save life of Chicago officer shot in the line of duty

UIC police officer Cesar Canizales

On Friday, July 1, at approximately 8:30 a.m., two uniformed Chicago police officers responded to a domestic violence call at the Taylor Street Apartments, 1342 W. Taylor. As they exited the building’s elevator, one of the officers was shot five times in what Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown called an “ambush attempt in which officers had no time to react.” The two officers didn’t return fire and took the elevator to the ground floor to obtain help.

As the off-campus situation was unfolding, UIC police officer Cesar Canizales was on patrol near Polk and Halsted streets. He heard CPD’s radio call for assistance, he immediately activated his siren and drove to the scene. When he arrived at the building, he found the two officers near the door and helped them out of the building and into his vehicle.

Canizales then transported the injured officer to Stroger hospital, an action that Brown and Stroger medical staff said likely saved the officer’s life due to the severity of his injuries. At the hospital, Canizales also aided the uninjured officer per police procedures to ensure that he had not been wounded as well.

“My prior military training and police training helped me realize that the injured officer needed to get to the hospital as quickly as possible,” he said.

The wounded officer is now reported to be in stable condition and a 27-year-old convicted felon has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a peace officer.

“Officer Canizales took immediate action during this emergency situation as all of our officers are trained to do,” UIC Chief of Police Kevin Booker said. “I am both grateful and proud that he was able to provide life-saving assistance to a fellow officer.”

A Navy veteran, Canizales joined UICPD in 1997, six months after leaving the military. Over the course of his UIC career, he has worked on all three shifts and spent 10 years working in community policing before returning to patrol duties in 2019.

“I really love interacting with students and faculty, and especially enjoyed my work with UIC’s student patrol program,” he said. “Many of the student patrol members I worked with have gone on to become police officers in the Chicago suburbs and other communities, and that’s great to see.”

Canizales said that events like the Taylor Street incident are just part of the job and credits his military and police training for knowing what to do in the worst of circumstances.

“I’m glad I was able to help the CPD officer and get the help he needed as soon as possible,” Canizales said. “I’ve been able to speak with him since the incident and hopefully his condition will continue to improve.”

UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker also spoke about Canizales’ life-saving actions at a recent Chicago Police Department news conference (Booker appears in the video at 7:37).

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