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Chicago officer charged with shooting man while off-duty

March 18, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago police training officer was arrested Wednesday for allegedly shooting a man in the hand and illegally firing his gun while off-duty during a confrontation on a street last year.

Officer Kevin Bunge was charged with aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon. During a bond hearing, Cook County Circuit Judge John Lyke ordered Bunge held in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Authorities say Bunge on Dec. 11 shot Jomner Orozco after he pulled up in a vehicle behind Bunge, who was in his Jeep listening to an audio book. In a lawsuit filed by Orzoco and his passenger, Carlos Ramirez, the men allege Bunge got out his vehicle brandishing his gun and badge and fired on them. The lawsuit asserts the vehicle the two men were in was pulled over because they were having trouble with the GPS on a cellphone they were using.

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While the lawsuit said no gun was found on the plaintiffs, Bunge’s lawyer, Tim Grace, said his client was only defending himself from a suspect who pointed a gun at him.

In a report released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, Bunge stated to an incident commander that he heard gunfire and saw an occupant from Orozco’s vehicle point a gun at him before Bunge fired off two rounds. Video of the shooting has also been made public. It shows Orozco and Ramirex never got out their vehicle after they parked. The video, which has no audio, shows Bunge approach the car two minutes after it pulled up and the car accelerating backward seconds after Bunge approached.

Grace said his client taught use of force in the police academy and Bunge did what he taught in the academy when deadly force is encountered.

“The thoughts going through his mind are, ‘Why is the victim parked so close behind me and what are they doing?’” Grace said.

Orozco claims in the lawsuit the gunfire caused “significant physical injury to two of the fingers on his right hand.” It also claims Ramirez was hit in the face by glass from a shattered car window and the gunfire damaged his hearing.

Bunge was relieved of his police powers before the criminal charges were filed.