29-Year-Old Chicago Police Officer Killed and Partner in Critical Condition After Shooting During Traffic Stop
Officer Ella French was the fifth woman to die in the line of duty in the history of the Chicago Police, and the first officer in 20 years.
A 29-year-old Chicago police officer was killed and her partner was critically wounded following a shooting during a traffic stop on Saturday, officials said.
Both officers were rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where one of the officers, identified as Ella French, succumbed to her injuries and died. The male officer, who was seriously injured, is “fighting for his life,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference Sunday, CNN reported.
The incident took place just after 9 p.m. on Chicago’s South Side. French and her partner, both of whom were part of the community safety team, conducted a traffic stop near 63rd Street and South Bell Avenue, according to authorities. Two men and a woman were inside the car. One of the men in the vehicle opened fire, Brown said at the news conference, CBS 2 Chicago reported.
The officers shot back, wounding the alleged shooter, according to the police superintendent, CBS 2 Chicago reported.
One suspect struck by gunfire was taken to the hospital and listed in stable condition, according to a news release by the Chicago Police Department.
Three unnamed suspects in total were taken into custody. No charges have yet been filed.
Brown said it was too early to say why the vehicle was stopped and what events transpired before the shooting. He said the officers were wearing body cameras, which captured much of the incident, but the video cannot be released yet.
“Much of what happened was caught on body camera. We do know that,” Brown said, CBS Chicago reported. “We’ve reviewed the body cam, and we have more review to go.”
A gun was also recovered at the scene, CBS News reported.
“Our collective hearts are broken by this tragic and senseless death of PO Ella French. (EOW: 7-Aug-21). Her life was taken in service to others. Please hold Officer French, her critically wounded partner, and their loved ones in your prayers,” Chicago Police spokesperson Tom Ahern said in a tweet on Sunday evening.
On Early Sunday morning, Chicago police officers lined the street as a trio of bagpipers and a single drummer stood in silence in memory of the fallen officer. An ambulance made its way to the Chicago Medical Examiner’s office, CNN reported.
“We will never forget the true bravery she exemplified as she laid her life down to protect other,” the Chicago Police said in a tweet. “Please hold her family, loved ones and fellow Chicago Police officers in your though as we grieve the loss of this hero."
French had been on the job since 2018. Her partner started in 2014, a report said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared Sunday a day of mourning and called for flags at all Chicago city buildings to be flown at half staff, CBS Chicago reported.
“Please keep this officer in your prayers. Also, keep the other officer who was shot in your prayers and his family and his friends and every day for the rest of his life, uplift him and support him. They will need our help as a city,” Lightfoot said in one of her statements.
The mayor also addressed ongoing tensions between the community and the police.
"All of this, I say, stop. Just stop. This constant strife is not what we need in this moment. Of course, we have to continue the journey to achieve constitutional and accountable policing. That cannot be in a debate at this point,” the mayor said.
She continued: “Just let me also reiterate what I have said before and what I know to be true: the police are not our enemies. They are human, just as we are. Flawed, just as we are, but also risking their lives every day for our safety and security. That reality became very real last night, in an emergency room, amongst tears and fears from the finest and the most courageous people I know. A mother lost her daughter last night. A brother his sister. A family forever shattered.”
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Chicago Police Department is investigating the incident, according to a police statement.
French was the fifth woman to die in the line of duty in Chicago Police history, and the first officer in 20 years, CBS Chicago reported.
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