A Chicago police officer was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop, while her partner was critically wounded and is fighting for his life in the hospital.
Officer Ella French, age 29, was fatally shot on the night of August 7 during a traffic stop at 63rd St. and Bell Avenue after stopping a vehicle for expired tags. French and her partner approached the vehicle when they were fired upon, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said in a news conference.
The officers returned fire and hit one of the suspects before they fled. The injured officers were transported to University of Chicago Medical Center where French was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to the head, according to Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her partner was shot three times and remains in critical condition. First Deputy Eric Carter told reporters he was “fighting for his life.”
“These officers put the safety and lives of others above their own, serving with courage and honor despite knowing the cost,” Brown said in a statement. “We will never forget the sacrifices these officers made to protect this city. We cannot forget.”
The three occupants – two of them brothers – have been apprehended and are in custody.
According to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Emonte Morgan, 21, has been charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. His brother, Eric Morgan, 22, has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and obstruction of justice.
Flags across Chicago are flying at half-staff. A purple and black mourning flag has also been raised to pay tribute to Officer French, and a vigil was held in West Englewood for her.
“She was courageous, spontaneous,” said CPD Officer Erica Hernandez, holding back tears. “She was an amazing person to be around.”
French was a member of the department’s community safety team and had been with the CPD for 4 years.
Carter described the young officer as “very enthusiastic” when it came to the job.
Fellow officer Kenneth Griffin said that French loved the community and “would do anything for them.”
He added that he hasn’t slept since the news. “I’ve been crying for two days straight now, and I’ll probably cry again after this call. And I’ll cry tonight. But tomorrow I’m going to go out here and I’m going to go to work and continue to show love to my community and make sure my community stays safe. That’s what she would want. She literally became a police officer to do those things. So, the best way to honor her is to do that,” he said.
French’s brother, Andrew, said his sister always did the right thing.
“My sister’s always been a person of integrity,” he said. “She’s always done the right thing even when nobody’s looking. She’s always believed in people and believed in doing the right thing… She’s always believed in taking care of people that can’t take care of themselves.”
According to ABC7, French is the first female Chicago police officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1988.
The weapon used to shoot French, a Glock 44 .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol, led investigators to arrest an Indiana man, Jamel Danzy, who was the owner of the gun. Danzy bought the gun in Hammond in March.
ATF agents said that Danzy admitted to buying the gun for Morgan, who could not purchase the gun due to a criminal conviction in Wisconsin.
Danzy has been charged with conspiracy to violate federal firearms laws.
Brown said the tragedy should be bring people together around law enforcement.
“I’m asking Chicago to wrap their arms around our police officers today and encourage them to continue their great work in protecting us all,” he said.