A Chicago business waited two hours for police to respond after an employee shot a suspected burglar in the shoulder.
The business owner of an auto shop on Chicago’s South Side set up a stake out of the property Friday night after being victimized by multiple burglaries, according to a report from CWB Chicago. Employees of the shop came in to see if they could catch the perpetrator in the act. The stakeout paid off at about 3 a.m., when employees observed a man cutting a hole in a perimeter fence, crawling onto the property and grabbing a tire rim.
According to the prosecutors in the case, it was at that point that the employees confronted 53-year-old George Perkins, who responded by swinging a crow bar at the employees. One of the employees then pulled out a gun and attempted to fire multiple shots in the air, but one of the rounds ended up striking Perkins in the shoulder.
The shop employees then detained Perkins and repeatedly called 911, with the prosecutor saying police “eventually arrived approximately two hours later.”
According to CWB, district police dispatch confirmed the call but had a backlog of calls when the auto shop’s call came in. The dispatch readout classified the call as a “holding the offender” incident multiple times over the next few hours.
About two hours later, the fire department responded to the scene and informed police that there was a person at the scene with a gunshot wound, causing a Chicago Police Department supervisor to pull a patrol unit off paperwork and send them to the scene.
The employee who shot Perkins said he fired the shots because Perkins was resisting, but was no longer at the scene when police arrived. So far, no charges have been filed against the employee.
An attorney for Perkins told Judge Susana Ortiz that Perkins was homeless and was simply attempting to rummage through garbage and has no criminal record, though prosecutors have charged him with burglary.
Chicago police districts entering “backlog” status has become a frequent occurrence, resulting in more calls for help from police than the district has officers to respond. In 2021, police districts were in a backlog or “Radio Assignments Pending” status 11,721 times, nearly the same amount as 2019 and 2020 combined.