Officer John C. Knight was shot and killed as he and his partner were investigating two suspicious individuals in a parked vehicle. Both officers noticed the vehicle with a popped trunk and two occupants slumped over on the inside. As they approached the vehicle, the men sped off and a short chase ensued.
The vehicle crashed into a parked car at 99th and South Parnell. The occupants then opened fire on the officers. Officer Knight was struck twice in the head and once in the abdomen before he was able to exit the passenger side of the vehicle. His partner exited the vehicle and returned fire, striking one of the assailants.
As the second officer went to check on Officer Knight, the wounded gunman reloaded his weapon, returned to the scene and opened fire, wounding the second officer in the hip.
On January 27, 2004, Officer Knight’s killer was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was also charged and found guilty of attempt first-degree murder of the second officer.
On January 28, 2004, during the penalty phase of the trial, a plea agreement was reached. The defendant pled guilty to an unrelated murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. He also waived his right to appeal his conviction in the Officer Knight’s case.
Officer Knight was a 10 year veteran of the department. He is survived by his wife, three children, two brothers, sister, and parents; his father was also a Chicago police officer.