Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune
October 9, 2012
Chicago Police Officer Joseph Lopez accepts the Lambert Tree Award from Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, left, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The award is given out for bravery in the line of duty. Lopez, an 8-year veteran, responded to a call of shots fired. Upon arrival, a witness told Lopez the subject fled in a SUV. Lopez located the parked vehicle several minutes later. As he approached, the rear passenger door opened and a male subject fled.
Lopez pursued the subject to a residential parking lot, where the subject turned toward Lopez, pointing and firing a semi-automatic handgun at him three times. Fearing for his life, Lopez aimed his weapon at the subject, but did not return fire as he was concerned additional gunfire would endanger citizens near the scene. The foot pursuit continued to a rear gangway and up some stairs.
The subject, realizing he had nowhere to go, walked down the stairs, coming face-to-face with Lopez. At that point the subject pointed his handgun at the officer. Fearing for his life, Lopez discharged his duty weapon one time, fatally striking the subject. The subject's weapon, a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun, fell to the ground but was recovered immediately.