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MILWAUKEE — An off-duty Milwaukee police officer was shot and wounded while trying to stop an armed robbery in the city's Third Ward, according to authorities.

Police Chief Jeffrey Norman says the 37-year-old detective suffered life-threatening injuries Thursday afternoon after he was shot multiple times.

Norman the chain of events began with a suspect tried and failed to steal a vehicle with three children inside. The suspect began to leave the scene, but then followed the female driver into a nearby business and attempted to rob her, Norman said.

The off-duty officer intervened and struggled with the suspect who fired multiple rounds, striking the detective and then fled. The officer returned fire. Police say there's no indication the officer's shot struck anyone.

“This was an off-duty detective probably just ordering food,” Norman said. “He went into danger without any hesitation.”

The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle that was later spotted by police. Multiple suspects fled when a police chase ended. A 17-year-old and an 18-year-old were arrested, police said.

Norman says the detective is in stable condition at Froedtert Hospital.