Chicago police officer on trial for fatal 2017 off-duty shooting

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CHICAGO – A Chicago police officer is being tried on first-degree murder charges in connection with a 2017 shooting that occurred when the officer was off duty.

Cook County prosecutors say Lowell Houser shot to death Jose Nieves during an argument outside an apartment complex where the victim lived. Houser was visiting a friend in the complex.

During opening statements Tuesday, defense attorney William Fahy said the then 58-year-old Houser acted in self-defense. He alleges the 38-year-old Nieves threatened to shoot Houser and made a threatening move.

In his statement, Assistant State’s Attorney Angel Essig said Houser failed to mention to investigators that he knew Nieves, never mentioned a gun or fear of a gun.

Houser’s bench trial is before Judge William Gamboney. As an attorney, Gamboney represented former police Cmdr. Jon Burge, who imprisoned for lying about torturing black criminal suspects.

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