CHICAGO (CBS) — Police on Thursday shot and critically wounded a Chicago firefighter who was described as suicidal and despondent.

The shooting happened at the CVS Pharmacy at 103rd and Pulaski in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood early in the afternoon, according to sources.

The firefighter, who reportedly was on medical leave, was trying to be shot on purpose, in a so-called attempted “suicide by cop,” police union spokesman Pat Camden said. Chicago Police News Affairs said initial reports characterized the subject as suicidal.

The firefighter was known to be despondent. Camden said the man’s wife told 911 dispatchers that he called her shortly before the shooting and said he couldn’t take it anymore.

The firefighter had called his wife and was upset, sources said. She called police, who responded to the scene.

Once police arrived, the man made the sign of the cross and exited his van with a black object in a shooting position. That’s when police shot him.

“Fearing for their lives, officers then discharged their weapons striking the offender,” Chicago Police News Affairs said in a written statement.

Witnesses said they heard about 15 shots. Investigators determined the man did not actually have a gun.

About 12:45 p.m. Fire Department paramedics took an adult male gunshot victim to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition, according to a Fire Media Affairs spokesman.

Police News Affairs said the matter remains under investigation.

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