Trial Begins For Chicago Cop Charged With Driving Drunk; Shooting Gun at Firefighter
After witnessing it almost hit other cars in traffic, Charles Ostrowski, a Chicago firefighter, began following a car owned by off-duty Chicago Police Officer John Gorman, who was drunk at the time. Gorman responded by jumping out of his car and pointing his gun at Ostrowski’s truck and then firing five shots at it as he tried to steer around Gorman.
Fortunately, neither Ostrowski nor his friend Dominic Dimaggio, the other occupant of the truck and who also was an off-duty police officer from a different department, were hit by the shots. However, one of the bullets did hit the rear bumper of the truck. Officer Gorman admitted to firing at them, but in his version of events he was defending himself from Ostrowski and Dimaggio, who actually were the aggressors.
Via the Chicago Tribune:
The incident began as Ostrowski and Dimaggio drove home after lunch at a Palos Heights bar and a stop at an American Legion Hall in Worth. They were driving east on 111th Street when the Buick passed them and sped through traffic, weaving in and out of lanes, Ostrowski testified.
After seeing the Buick nearly strike the flower vendor after the light turned green at Pulaski Road, the two began following the car as Gorman continued to drive recklessly, Ostrowski testified.
When Gorman stopped near 111th Street and Spaulding Avenue, the suburban cop stepped out of the truck, showed his badge and told Gorman to roll down his window.
Dimaggio said, “I’m the police. Are you OK? Roll down your window. We need to talk about your driving,” Ostrowski testified.
But on cross-examination by (Gorman’s lawyer, Michael) Clancy, Ostrowski admitted telling police that day that his friend had asked, “Why are you driving like an (expletive)?”
Ostrowski also acknowledged that the police report did not indicate his friend had identified himself as a suburban cop.
When the left-turn light turned green, Gorman sped around the truck and continued driving east, Ostrowski testified. Dimaggio then called 911.
At Prospect and Pryor avenues, Gorman stopped the car and got out. He walked to the rear of his car, displayed a pistol, raised his arm and pointed the gun at the front of the truck, according to testimony.
Officer Gorman was sloppy drunk at the time and even had open beer containers strewn around on the inside of his car. However, he refused a breathalyzer initially and by the time he was compelled to take one by the department’s internal affairs division over five hours had passed. At that point, his blood alcohol level still registered 0.07, just 0.01 below the legal level to be considered intoxicated. However, as a result he was only charged with misdemeanor DUI.