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Shot Chicago police officer in critical condition

A Chicago police officer who was shot in the chest while pursuing a curfew violator on the city's South Side is in critical condition after surgery, but his prognosis is good, a police spokeswoman said.

The 47-year-old officer and others had approached four curfew violators late Monday night to conduct a field interview, said officer Laura Kubiak.

"One of the subjects fled the scene into an alley," she told msnbc.com, reading from a police statement. "An officer pursued the offender into a front yard where the offender fired shots striking the officer in the upper body. The offender fled the scene."

The eight-year veteran of the force is being treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center, where doctors were able to stem the bleeding, Kubiak said.

The officer, who had been wearing a bullet-proof vest, lost two-thirds of the blood in his body. Surgeons did not remove the bullet,
Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden told NBCChicago.com.

The bullet is lodged next to the officer's spine, Supt. Garry McCarthy told reporters: "It's not bad news, but it's not the type of news we want to hear."

Related: Chicago bloodbath: 6-year-old among 10 killed

A person of interest --  20 years old, believed to have gang ties -- was being questioned, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The officer's wife, two children, mother and pastor were at the hospital, McCarthy said.

"This guy's a great cop," he said. "There's a very somber mood. Everyone's very serious and focused on praying for his recovery right now."

Msnbc.com's Miranda Leitsinger contributed to this report.

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