Chicago officer shot and killed in West Englewood ID’d; Second officer critically wounded

Chicago Crime

CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer was killed in a shooting Saturday on the city’s Southwest Side. A second officer was injured and remains in the hospital in critical condition.

Three people are in custody.

Police identified the slain officer as 29-year-old Ella French. She had been on the force since 2018.

Police said officers were conducting a traffic stop in the 6300 block of South Bell Avenue in the West Englewood neighborhood just around 9 p.m.

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 one of the officers, French, died from her injuries.  

French was assigned to the police department’s community safety team working with the gun task force. She is the first line of duty death for the department in nearly three years. She is the fifth female CPD officer to be killed while on-duty.

The name of the second officer critically injured has not been released. Chicago police said the officer remains in critical condition at the University of Chicago, intubated by responsive.

On Sunday, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other police officials held a news conference.

“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,” Brown said.

Lightfoot declared Sunday a “day of mourning” in Chicago and flags would be at half staff.

“Tragedy has struck, again. We mourn the loss of a young officer, and as I did privately in the early morning hours, I want to publicly offer condolences to her mother, her brother, family and friends,” she said. “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. Two young people, doing what we ask, service over self, commitment, and dedication.”

One of the two men taken into custody was struck by gunfire and was initially transported to Christ Hospital in stable condition.

Brown, citing preliminary information, said it is believed a male passenger was the person who fired shots at police.

Brown said much of the incident was caught on body camera and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability will determine the release of the footage. The investigation is ongoing.

French’s brother, Andrew, said he never questioned his sister wanting to be a police officer, just like she never questioned him when he said he was joining the Army.

“We wanted to do good for the world. My mom adopted both of us. She raised us to be of service, to care, to have integrity,” French said.

“My sister is a badass. She always wanted to make a difference wherever, however it was possible. I was never surprised when she said she was going to be a sheriff and then a cop. It just made sense.”

French, who lives in Colorado, said both he and his sister were raised on the Southside, where their mother still resides.

Brown said so far this year, 38 officers have been shot at, and 11 have been hit by gunfire.

The last Chicago officer shot to death in the line of duty was 28-year-old Samuel Jimenez, who was killed after responding to a shooting at Mercy Hospital on Nov. 19, 2018.

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Two officers, Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo, died when they were struck by a South Shore train while pursuing a suspect on Dec. 17, 2018. The department also considers the COVID-19 deaths of four officers last year line-of-duty deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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