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Eleven Chicago police officers have been shot at or wounded so far this year as city’s police superintendent warns it is “the most dangerous time to be a police officer,” according to officials and reports.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown was addressing the media after a cop-involved shooting on Monday, when one officer was shot and another was pinned between two vehicles, when he revealed a staggering statistic: 500% more police officers have been shot over the last two years, he said, according to WGN-TV.
“It is the most dangerous time to be the police in this country,” he said, “where offenders are brazen, not only against our residents with these violent crimes, but not hesitant at all to fire upon officers.”
A spokesperson for Chicago Police Department (CPD) could not speak to Brown’s statement that there was a 500% increase. The office confirmed, however, that 11 officers have been shot at as of Tuesday, with three wounded.
Meanwhile, 23 CPD officers were shot at – and four were struck – between Jan. 1 and March 29, 2021, the police department said. And 10 cops were shot at during that time frame in 2020, with one wounded.
And looking at year totals, a CPD spokesperson said 20 cops were shot or shot at in all of 2017 and the same number was reported in 2018.
There were 22 cops shot or shot at in 2019, but the number skyrocketed in 2020, when 80 officers were shot or shot at. And 76 officers were wounded or shot at in all of 2021.
Most recently, one officer was shot in the hand and another was struck by a car after the pair of suspects rammed the vehicle into him during a Monday night traffic stop gone wrong, police have said.
The pair of officers had stopped the vehicle and were approaching on foot when the suspect behind the wheel drove into one of the cops and opened fire.
The officers returned fire, wounding one of the suspects. The injured suspect was taken to a local hospital in serious-to-critical condition. The second suspect was also taken into custody.
Meanwhile, both cops suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were treated at an area hospital.
After news of the shootout Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement that she and her family were “relieved to hear that none of their injuries were life-threatening, and that a suspect was apprehended on scene.”
She added: “This latest incident again underscores the dangers that our valiant police officers face every day to keep the rest of us safe.”
Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.
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Actor Julian Sands latest hiker to encounter disaster near popular LA mountain, expert weighs in on dangers
Several hikers have recently been killed or disappeared around a popular southern California peak – including missing actor Julian Sands – which should be a warning for would-be adventurers, experts said.
Mount Baldy’s breathtaking views come with real danger that can quickly turn a winter alpine trek into a nightmare, hiking expert Cris Hazzard told Fox News Digital.
“When there’s snow and ice on the mountains, it just takes one misstep to slide hundreds of feet down the slopes,” said Hazzard, of HikingGuy.com. People die on Mount Baldy every winter “like clockwork,” he added.
“Even if you survive, you could be trapped in a spot where no one can see you,” Hazzard said.
Mount Baldy, in the Angeles National Forest about 50 miles west of downtown L.A., is a magnet for hikers who travel the alpine forests and double switchbacks around its 10,000-foot summit. On a clear day, visitors to the summit can see all the way to Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean, Hazzard said.
Sands, 65, became the latest hiker to go missing there nearly two weeks ago and he remained unaccounted for as of Thursday.
While the search for Sands continued Tuesday, 75-year-old Jin Chung was rescued after he never returned from a hike days earlier. The missing cases both came after a woman was killed when she slipped down a roughly 500-foot icy hillside.
The treacherous icy hills, Hazzard told Fox News Digital, are what usually get hikers into trouble in that part of the Angeles National Forest.
“Slipping on a narrow trail when hiking up a mountain in the summer usually means a bruised ego and a scrape or two,” Hazzard said. “But one slip or misstep on that same stretch of trail in the winter can get you into real trouble.”
Some hikers “don’t have the experience” – or the gear – for the mountain’s winter terrain, he added.
“It’s easy to get lost when the trail is covered in snow or maybe even blazed incorrectly by the person before you,” he said.
“Climbing Mount Baldy right now should be done with at least a helmet, crampons, and ice axe and if you have yet to practice using tools like an ice axe, it’s just extra weight you’re carrying,” he added.
While there are areas around Mount Baldy that are more dangerous than others, including the Devil’s Backbone and the climb to Cucamonga Peak, Hazzard said trails with a lower profile can be just as dangerous in the winter.
“You don’t have to slide hundreds of feet down a slope to get hurt,” Hazzard said. “It could be the section of the trail where you think it’s relatively safe to let your concentration wane and get sloppy with your footing.”
Hazzard suggested alternative southern California hiking options where snowfall is not an issue, including Joshua Tree National Park and the lower peaks of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana Mountains. However, if hikers insist on Mount Baldy during the winter, Hazzard provided some basic tips to try and stay as safe as possible.
“Find a Forest Service road or flat trail and start there,” Hazzard said. “You can use your trekking poles, microspikes, or snowshoes, and it can be a great time. Bring the 10 essentials, wear layers that you can adjust to control heat and sweat, and let your family know where you’re hiking.”
“Expect to go slower than usual and enjoy the scenery; winter hiking is not about bagging the miles or summits. If you really want to bag Mount Baldy in the winter, learn how to mountaineer, practice your skills, pick the ideal conditions, and do it responsibly.”
The “extremely dangerous” conditions that claimed the life of the female hiker and another hiker in recent weeks prompted local authorities to urge hikers, including experienced ones, to avoid the area for the time being.
“Please know the current conditions on Mount Baldy are adverse and extremely dangerous. Due to the high winds, the snow has turned to ice, making hiking extremely dangerous,” authorities warned.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team said it has responded on 14 rescue missions in the last four weeks alone.
Search crews continue to look for Sands, known for his roles in “The Killing Fields” and “Leaving Las Vegas,” as of Thursday afternoon amid wintry conditions and avalanche warnings.
The U.S. Forest Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
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