A Park Forest police officer who was shot in the head last month during a gunfight with a burglary suspect is out of the intensive care and making "incredible gains," police said Wednesday.
Officer Tim Jones, who has been with Park Forest less than one year, has been moved to a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery, police said. Officials aren't releasing the name of the center.
"It's a good step forward," Park Forest Deputy Chief Christopher Mannino said. "He's made some incredible gains in a short period of time and that has us hopeful for him."
Jones was critically wounded when he was shot three times March 19 during an exchange of gunfire that began when 21-year-old Thurman Reynolds drew a gun and opened fire on police, authorities said.
Officers had responded to a call about a break-in at a vacant home in the 300 block of Neola Street in Park Forest when Reynolds, who emerged from the house after police had established a perimeter, starting firing, officials said. Jones, the 24-year-old son of Country Club Hills Police Chief William Jones, has shown steady signs of improvement since he was hospitalized at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
Jones no longer requires life support and is stable enough to be taken to the new facility, police said. However, he remains "minimally conscious," and officials are uncertain about his long-term prognosis.
"He has continued to surprise medical staff with his improvements," Mannino said.
Mannino said the progress Jones has made in the three weeks since the shooting is remarkable.
Residents in and around the small south suburban community have rallied to support the well-liked officer known for his charismatic smile as he battles to recover from the severe injuries.
Since March 23, donations made to a GoFundMe page have totaled more than $65,000 to help cover the medical costs for Jones and his family.
More than $5,000 was collected from a drive at Culver's in Matteson. Customers waited in line for more than an hour to buy food during the restaurant's recent fundraising event.
Wristbands with "TimStrong" and Jones' badge number written on them will be sold for $5 donation each from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday at 525 Bar & Grill, 525 Dixie Highway, Chicago Heights. Twenty-five percent of sales made at the bar during those hours will go to Jones.
On Monday, 30 percent of sales made from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Olympia Fields McDonald's, 2400 W. Lincoln Highway, also will go to Jones and his family.
Nick Swedberg is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.
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