Amid a violent weekend in Chicago, with at least 66 victims shot and eight killed, one police officer is dead and another is in critical condition after they were shot in the line of duty during a Saturday evening traffic stop.
Chicago police said two officers were fired upon after a vehicle carrying two men and a woman was pulled over at around 9:10 p.m. in the 6300-block of South Bell Avenue in the South Side of the City.
They were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center where the female officer, reportedly identified as 29-year-old Ella French, succumbed to her injuries. A second male officer remains in the hospital “fighting for his life” as of early Sunday morning, police Superintendent David Brown said.
A crowd of Chicago police officers also gathered outside of the hospital to pay their respects to their fallen colleague, as well as her injured partner.
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) August 8, 2021
French reportedly joined the force in 2018 and was a member of the city’s Community Safety Team.
Two suspects were reportedly taken into custody, one of whom was rushed to the hospital after being injured when the officers returned fire. A third suspect is also in custody as of Sunday evening, according to ABC 7 Chicago. (RELATED: 10-Minute String Of Shootings Leave 14-Year-Old Dead, 9 Others Injured)
“Despite the shock, grief, pain and sorrow we feel this morning, our brothers and sisters in blue put this uniform on each and every day. They go to work risking everything to serve the people of Chicago,” Supt. Brown added in a Sunday press conference. “They come to work, willing to run toward things, toward gunfire, and they’re willing to sacrifice their lives to save the lives of perfect strangers.”
“I also want to address another issue that’s been lashing our city for far too long,” Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot added. “There are some who say that we do not do enough for the police and that we are handcuffing them from doing their jobs. There are others who say we do too much for the police, and then we never hold them accountable for what they do, particularly in black and brown neighborhoods. All of this, I say, stop. Just stop. This constant strife is not what we need in this moment.”
The mayor also declared a public day of mourning in the city, adding in a follow up tweet that “we have a common enemy: it’s guns & the violence they bring”
Some say we don’t do enough for the police. Others say we do too much. All of this must stop.
We have a common enemy: it’s guns & the violence they bring.
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) August 8, 2021
The tragic incident marks the 11th time a police officer has been shot in Chicago in 2021, as well as the first officer to die in the line of duty since Lightfoot took office in 2019, and the first female Chicago cop to die on duty since 1988.
Over the weekend, 66 people with shot and eight of the victims, including French, passed away, CBS Chicago reported. In one incident, seven people were shot at a lounge early Sunday morning, with a 37-year-old victim sustaining fatal gunshots wounds to the neck and back, according to the outlet.
Lightfoot’s city saw 56 shootings, including 11 fatalities, during the weekend of July 17-18. The recent surge in violence this summer prompted the Democratic mayor to coordinate a federal strike force with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and partner with President Joe Biden, in order to crack down on gun trafficking in the city.
“What the President conveyed to Mayor Lightfoot is that he will continue to work with her, in partnership, and work with cities around the country to address the rise of cri- — of violence and, specifically, the rise of gun violence was — is predominantly the driver in Chicago,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki at a July 8 press briefing.
The murder rate in Chicago spiked 50% in 2020, as previously reported.