CHICAGO — Supporters showed up Thursday to cheer on as Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. left a rehab facility as he continues to recover from a shooting that claimed the life of his partner Officer Ella French.
His departure from the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab was filled with hugs and a huge crowd as well as a mariachi band who played for him.
His fellow officers, family and friends were there to show support. Many saw him in person for the first time in months.
“I mean it’s family,” he said. “They are my family in blue. It’s love.”
The shooting happened during a routine traffic stop on the 6300 block of South Bell Avenue in the West Englewood neighborhood just around 9 p.m. on Aug. 7.
Officers had stopped a vehicle with three occupants inside, two men and one woman. According to police, the occupants inside the vehicle opened fire towards the officers, leading to an exchange of gunfire.
The officers were struck by gunfire at the scene. Both were taken to the hospital where 29-year-old French died from her injuries.
Yanez, 39, lost an eye and was partially paralyzed when he was shot.
“He’s a fighter. Everybody saw that,” his father Carlos Yanez Sr said. “He was shot four times. (He) still has a sense of humor. With all the prayers of everybody around the world, we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
Loved ones tell WGN News, from here Yanez Jr. will receive outpatient therapy.
“It’s just an amazing feeling to be able to go onto the next steps,” his wife Brenda Yanez said. “The ride isn’t over. We still have a lot to do. But it’s progress and we’re very grateful for that.”
Yanez says he’s filled with gratitude for the men and women who saved his life.
“Especially here at this facility,” he said. It’s the best in the country. They’ve got great technology. … It’s amazing.”
The shooting suspect, 21-year-old Emonte “Monte” Morgan, was shot in the abdomen by a third officer. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder of a peace officer and attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty to all 85 counts against him. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 2.
His brother, 22-year-old Eric Morgan, who prosecutors say was driving the vehicle, was also arrested. He faces gun charges and an obstruction of justice charge.
A third man accused of acting as a straw purchaser to buy the gun used in the shooting faces federal gun charges.