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Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Skokie, Illinois 08/25/2008

Officer Tim Gramins pursued a bank robbery suspect and ended up in a deadly duel.

February 08, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

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A residential street was the setting for Skokie Police Officer Tim Gramins' gunfight with a robbery suspect. Photo: Skokie PD
A residential street was the setting for Skokie Police Officer Tim Gramins' gunfight with a robbery suspect. Photo: Skokie PD

Suddenly Maddox was right on top of Gramins. Both men aimed their guns through the driver's window of Gramins' car and squeezed their triggers.



If the thought that their firearms might run dry at the exact same moment had been unexpected by the men, its eventuality didn't seem to faze either. Both compensated without a second's hesitation, Maddox doubling back for the cover of his own car as Gramins exited his.

Liberating himself from the patrol car, Gramins escaped a confined kill zone and availed himself a number of tactical options for dealing with the suspect. But he'd also momentarily lost sight of Maddox, who he thought might've re-entered the Bonneville with the intent of retrieving a second weapon. Gramins positioned himself between it and the front of his patrol unit where he knelt and fed in a second magazine.

The slide of his pistol had just chambered a fresh round when Maddox was back in view along the left side of the Bonneville and re-engaging him, probably with a second handgun.

Gramins returned fire, scurrying down along the driver's side of his patrol car and around the trunk so as to get an eye forward along the passenger side of his unit.

Realizing that Maddox had moved up on his patrol car, too, Gramins ducked down on the passenger side. Seeing the Glock in lockback, he fed in a third

Maddox and Gramins then began a deadly game of cat and mouse, firing on each other from opposite sides of the patrol vehicle. One would rise and fire as the other would duck.

Aim Better

Back and forth it went until Gramins saw Maddox sink below his visual plane again. He decided to try a different tactic. Seeing that the patrol car was canted up on the crest of the street, the officer wondered if he couldn't skip some rounds off the asphalt at Maddox.

Gramins went prone, and resumed firing under the patrol car in Maddox's direction, more point shooting than not. But as he visually tracked his shots' placement, he realized that his rounds were impacting the tire and the underside of his unit.

Not good, Gramins thought. You need to aim better.

He paused, took a breath and a second to consciously line his sights up on what he could see of Maddox's head as the man crouched on the downslope of the opposite side of the street. Slowing himself down, Gramins locked in his sights on the suspect's head and fired a three-round volley in rapid succession.

Maddox went down.

Gramins paused, peering beneath the vehicle's frame and keeping an eyeline on Maddox's prostrate form. Blood pooled about Maddox's head.

Gramins keyed his portable mic to get paramedics rolling but kept getting stepped on by the coordination of units responding to his location.

A plainwrap manned by Skokie PD detectives Jose Mendez and Jessie Barnes  was the first unit on scene. Seeing the extent of Maddox's injuries, Mendez kicked the suspect's handgun to the side before handcuffing him while Barnes checked on Gramins. Gramins and Maddox were then transported to St. Francis Hospital where Maddox was pronounced dead and Gramins spent the night before being released the next day.

17 Hits

Gramins believes that the second time Maddox engaged him it was probably with a second handgun that he had, a Bersa Blue Thunder .380. But save for a few cuts to his chin from flying debris, Gramins came out of the shooting mentally and physically unscathed.

It was a different story for Maddox.

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