Brothers charged in fatal shooting of Chicago police officer held without bond

Chicago Crime

CHICAGO — Two brothers charged in the fatal shooting of Chicago police officer Ella French were ordered to be held without bond.

Prosecutors said both brothers gave videotaped statements.

French was killed Saturday night when she and her partner and an additional officer conducted a traffic stop in the 6300 block of South Bell Avenue in the West Englewood neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Her partner remains hospitalized. Chicago police Supt. David Brown said the wounded officer is in critical condition but is “incrementally improving.”

Emonte Morgan, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. He was shot twice during the exchange on Saturday. He was ordered held without bond.

In court, prosecutors said body camera footage shows Emonte Morgan holding a gun as he steps over French and her partner.

Eric Morgan, 22, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice. Police said Eric Morgan was driving the vehicle. He was also denied bond.

According to prosecutors, French and her partner still had their guns in their holsters when they were shot. 

Photo from 2019 of Emonte Morgan (left) and updated photo of Eric Morgan (right).

Citing a lack of evidence, police said that a third female passenger in the car has not been charged.

According to police, the Chicago officers had stopped the vehicle with the Morgan brothers and the unidentified female passenger inside over expired plates.

According to prosecutors, Eric Morgan initially cooperated, handing his keys over to Officer Ella French. But authorities say Emonte got out of the car with a drink in one hand and a cell phone in the other and after he refused to set the items down, he struggled with officers.

While that was happening, Eric Morgan ran, with one of the officers giving chase.

Prosecutors say Emonte Morgan opened fire, fatally shooting Officer French in the head. The second officer that was critically injured was shot three times in the eye and the shoulder and has a bullet lodged in his brain.

Prosecutors noted that both officers’ body cameras were rolling.

“Defendant Monty Morgan is seen on the video emerging from the passenger compartment holding a gun in his left hand. He is seen looking around while standing above those officers. He then moves off of camera and after several moments, he can be seen on victim two’s camera coming back into view and stepping over the body of those officers as they lay in the street,” said Interim First Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier.

After hearing the gunshots and not hearing his partners on the radio, the third officer stopped trying to handcuff Eric Morgan and reportedly ran back to the scene.

Prosecutors say Emonte Morgan gave the gun to his brother, Eric. The third officer is who shot Emonte Morgan.

Authorities add that Eric Morgan, who had fled the scene, hopped a fence into a yard and residents held him down until police arrived.

Prosecutors also charged a third man, Jamel Danzy, from Indiana. He faces federal charges for straw purchasing the gun. Prosecutors said the SUV that officers pulled over was also registered in his name.

Emonte Morgan was on probation in Cook County for robbery. He was previously charged with minor traffic offenses, including leaving the scene, operating a vehicle without a license and driving uninsured. He was also charged with battery and theft in 2019.

“There’s one reason that this happened. One reason. These two offenders killed Ella French and tried to kill [the second and third officer] there,” Brown said on Monday. “That’s the only person we’re pointing the finger at today.

“I won’t entertain finger-pointing at anyone or anything else. They need to be fully held accountable for her murder.”

Emonte Morgan was initially transported to Christ Hospital in stable condition. A source tells WGN Investigates the mother of the two brothers was arrested Tuesday morning during an altercation with security and police at the medical center. Oak Lawn police confirm the arrest but charges have not yet been filed.

Chicago Police Officers packed the courtroom for Tuesday’s hearings. Chicago Fraternal Order of Police  President John Catanzara criticized top police brass, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for not attending. Foxx’s office says she was meeting with the FBI director.

“Our department needs to do better,” Catanzara said. “Our elected officials need to do better for our men and women. This needs to stop. “

Governor JB Pritzker called the violence “outrageous.”

“The family of the officer French deserves to have the entire state grieve for their daughter,” he said.

Funeral arrangements for Officer French are still being finalized. Catanzara says her injured partner was expected to undergo surgery Tuesday.

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