On July 21, 2016, at approximately 2010 hours, Bike officer Juan Rivera was flagged down by a concerned citizen who stated that there was a male in the park at 18th Street and Calumet Avenue acting strangely and drinking an unknown alcoholic beverage. The individual was also ogling unsupervised, underage girls.
Officer Rivera alerted bike officers David Benitez and Alfonso Herrera who relocated to the park and offered assistance. The officers encountered the offender, who was on his cell phone and took strategic and defensive positions with their bicycles. Benitez engaged the offender and attempted to conduct a field interview, but the individual became angry and combative. He refused to get off his phone. As Officer Benitez again ordered the offender to place his phone down, the individual lowered his arm and quickly produced a handgun, pointing it at each officer. Without warning, the offender fired in the direction of Officer Benitez, striking him in the left thigh. Each officer returned fire and neutralized the threat.
Once the scene was secured, Officer Rivera ran back to Officer Benitez, who had fallen down on one knee. Benitez instructed Rivera to give him his belt to use as a makeshift tourniquet. Without hesitation, Rivera removed his duty belt and his pants belt, which he and Benitez used to wrap around the injured thigh to slow the bleeding. Benitez further instructed Rivera to apply pressure on the wound until assisting units arrived and an actual tourniquet replaced the belt.
Unwilling to wait for an ambulance to arrive, officers on-scene placed Benitez into a CPD vehicle and transported him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Officer Tirado joined Benitez in the vehicle and advised the dispatcher of a detailed route to the hospital. Tirado also made sure that Benitez remained awake and alert while continuing to apply pressure to the wound. Officer Benitez was ultimately treated and released and has made a full recovery.
P.O. David Benitez has been a Chicago police officer for 17 years. During that time he has worked in the 002nd District, Public Housing South (Unit 715) and the 001st District. After working patrol in 001 for some time, he transferred to the 001st District Bike Team. He plans to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October of 2017.
P.O. Alfonso Herrera has been a Chicago police officer for more than 17 years (02 AUG 1999). He is currently assigned to the 001st District and has been detailed to several units — Saturation/Mission Team Unit (formerly in Area 4). In September of 2001, he was sent under military orders to serve during Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon returning from his overseas duty, Herrera was assigned to the City Hall Detail. He returned to the 001st District Bike/Foot Team following the retirement of Mayor Richard Daley. He was also detailed to work executive security for the former City Treasurer, Stephanie Neely. Herrera has been happily married for more than 25 years and has two daughters.
P.O. Juan Rivera followed in his father’s footsteps and became a Chicago police officer 11 years ago. He began his police career in the 014th District and is currently assigned to the 001st District as a bicycle patrol officer. He is the proud father of four children.
P.O. Tito Tirado has been a Chicago police officer for 10 years. During that time he has worked in the 021st District and is currently assigned to the 001st District in the bike patrol unit. He has been happily married for 22 years and is the proud father of 13-year old twins.