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19-year-old woman arrested for allegedly shooting a Chicago police officer during raid

Police say the suspect fired through a door, hitting officer in the shoulder.

March 10, 2019, 5:46 PM

A 19-year-old woman was arrested after she allegedly shot and wounded a Chicago police officer who was part of a tactical team serving a warrant at her home -- the latest in a string of incidents nationwide in which law enforcement officers have been killed or injured while executing warrants.

Emily Petronella, 19, was hit with a slew of charges from the Saturday night incident, including attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault on a peace officer, according to Chicago Police Department officials.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Petronella allegedly fired one shot through a rear door of her home, wounding the 34-year-old officer. Members of the tactical unit did not return fire.

PHOTO: Emily Patronella, 19, in a police photo dated March 9, 2019.
Emily Patronella, 19, in a police photo dated March 9, 2019.
Chicago Police Department

"This is another illustration of how dangerous it is for police officers to serve search warrants," Johnson said at a news conference Saturday night.

The shooting came just two days after a deputy sheriff was shot and killed while helping to serve an arrest warrant in Rockford, Illinois, on a fugitive at a hotel.

On Saturday, a police tactical team was serving a search warrant at a home in the Humboldt Park neighborhood when the shooting unfolded just after 7 p.m., Johnson said.

"While they were attempting to breach the rear door, a shot was fired through the door, striking an officer ... in the shoulder," Johnson said.

At the time of the shooting, Patronella was free on $10,000 bond stemming from being charged in February with a misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a weapon, officials said.

PHOTO: Police officers embrace joyfully after learning their colleague did not have life threatening injuries after he was shot during a raid in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago, March 10, 2019.
Police officers embrace joyfully after learning their colleague did not have life threatening injuries after he was shot during a raid in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago, March 10, 2019.
Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Johnson said officers were serving a search warrant for narcotics and illegal weapons suspected of being inside the home.

During the raid, police seized more than 5,000 grams, or a little over 11 pounds, of marijuana, a semiautomatic pistol and large bundles of cash.

During a bond hearing on Sunday, Petronella's attorney, Stefan Fenner, said his client opened fire on what she mistakenly thought were burglars attempting to break open her door, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Fenner claimed the officers did not announce they were police before trying to enter the home.

Johnson said at Saturday night's news conference that members of the tactical unit identified themselves as police as they attempted to serve the warrant.

He added that "all of our officers, typically, when we do search warrants have some kind of CP [Chicago Police] identification on them so that you can clearly see that they are the police."

"And besides that," he added, "we always station uniformed police cars with them."

Fenner claimed it was too dark outside for Petronella to see who was battering her back door.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Stephanie K. Miller ordered Petronella held in jail without bail.

"She poses a real and present threat to the safety of the community," Miller said.

Johnson said the wounded officer, whose name was not immediately released, has been a member of the Chicago Police Department for more than four years. He said that prior to joining the police force, the officer served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years.

He said the officer was in stable condition at Stroger Hospital in Chicago.

Efforts to reach relatives of Petronella by ABC News were not successful.

Petronella's mother, Sandra Petronella, told the Chicago Sun-Times that her daughter called her while the police were attempting to enter their home and that she thought burglars were attempting to break in.

"She was hysterical," Sandra Petronella told the newspaper. "She called me while I was at the mall: 'They're breaking in. They're breaking in,' and then she hung up."

Sandra Petronella said her daughter has a valid firearms identification card and has a gun to "protect her self," according to the newspaper.

"She's allowed to protect herself," the mom told the Sun-Times.

Johnson said Emily Petronella was known to police prior to the shooting.

"We've had several encounters with the female subject," Johnson said, declining to elaborate.

The shooting was the latest in a rash of incidents across the country within the past six months highlighting the dangers inherent in serving warrants.

On Thursday, a U.S. Marshal's task force was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Floyd E. Brown, 39, at an Extended Stay America hotel in Rockford, Illinois. Police said Brown fired a rifle through the door his of his third-floor room, fatally wounding McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner, a married father of two who was assigned to the task force.

In February, Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner, 35, was shot and killed while helping to execute a warrant in an investigation of illegal sales of firearms and drugs. Police said the suspected gun dealer, Jordan P. Fricke, fired an AK-47 semiautomatic pistol through an opening in the door, hitting Rittner.

Also in February, Dale Massad, former mayor of Port Richey, Florida, allegedly opened fire on two Pasco County Sheriff's deputies attempting to serve a search warrant on Massad's home, according to police. Neither deputy was injured.

Massad, who was under investigation for allegedly practicing medicine without a license, was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted homicide, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.

In January, four Houston narcotics officers were wounded during a drug raid on a home. During the raid, a married couple who owned the home was killed and their pit bull was shot dead during a gun battle.

An investigation determined that the lead agent on the case obtained the no-knock search warrant by allegedly falsifying information in an affidavit that a confidential informant had purchased tar heroin at the home multiple times.

And in November, Deputy U.S. Marshal Chase White, 41, was shot and killed in Tuscon, Arizona, while attempting to serve a felony warrant on Ryan Schlesinger, who was suspected of stalking a law enforcement officer. The 26-year-old suspect allegedly fired through a window, striking White multiple times.