A 29-year-old female police officer in Chicago was killed and another officer was seriously wounded in an exchange of gunfire during a traffic stop, officials said Sunday.
The officer killed Saturday night was identified as Ella French, according to a post on the Chicago Police Department’s Facebook page Sunday evening. French’s death was the first fatal shooting of a Chicago officer in the line of duty since 2018 and the first female officer fatally shot on the job in 33 years.
French leaves behind an infant child.
“We will never forget the true bravery she exemplified as she laid her life down to protect others,” the department said of French on Facebook, adding that fellow officers will “grieve the loss of this hero.” The department also requested support for French’s “wounded partner, who is in the hospital fighting for his life.”
The city’s mayor later cited the shooting as a reason for Chicagoans to work together to stem the violence.
Chief David Brown, Chicago police superintendent, praised his officers for putting their lives on the line to protect the citizens of Chicago.
“They come to work willing to run toward danger, toward gunfire, and they’re willing to sacrifice their lives to save the lives of perfect strangers,” he said.
When asked about the condition of the injured officer, Brown responded, “Critical. We need your prayers.”
The officer’s family had no statement other than “pray”, according to CBS Chicago.
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And fellow officers are doing just that. Newsmax host Steve Cortes tweeted a photo of a large group of Chicago’ finest praying outside of the emergency entrance of the hospital where the wounded officers were brought.
“Chicago police pray at the hospital where their shot colleagues were brought. Officer Ellen French died and leaves behind her infant child. Another cop fights for his life. An inspiring but heartbreaking scene of the best of the blue…” he wrote.
Chicago police pray at the hospital where their shot colleagues were brought.
Officer Ellen French died and leaves behind her infant child. Another cop fights for his life.
An inspiring but heartbreaking scene of the best of the blue… pic.twitter.com/55qIWEGgdW
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) August 9, 2021
Police said three suspects in the officer’s shooting are in custody, and the investigation continues. At the time of publication, they had not been identified and no charges had been filed.
This has been a dangerous year for the Chicago Police Department with 38 officers finding themselves in the line of fire, 11 wounded, and now one killed.
At a Sunday news conference, Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged Chicagoans to end the acrimony between ardent police proponents who say officers are hampered by overly burdensome rules and staunch critics who say officers act with impunity.
“Stop. Just stop,” she said. “This constant strife is not what we need in this moment.”
Lightfoot declared a day of mourning. She called for prayers and for all flags to be flown at half staff.
“The police are not our enemies,” Lightfoot added at the news conference. “We must come together… We have a common enemy: It’s the guns and the gangs.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday at least 75 people were shot in the city over the weekend.