CHICAGO (AP) – Dozens of police officers stood at attention as the coffin containing the body of a Chicago police officer who was fatally shot this month was carried to their funeral in a South Side church Thursday morning.
A sea of officers in their blue uniforms formed outside St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel as mourners – including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and senior officials, as well as friends and family – slowly walked in to meet Officer Ella French. to remember .
The head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, was to deliver the sermon at the funeral mass.
Outside, a large American flag fluttered from the ladders of the Chicago Fire Department trucks.
The mourners entering the church passed a photo of the smiling French woman with her dress gloves and baton. The ceremony started about 30 minutes late to accommodate the hundreds of others still waiting in line when the scheduled 10am start time arrived.
As always when an officer is killed on duty, the green Illinois State Police uniforms, white hats worn by members of the Chicago Fire Department, and uniforms from departments across the state and beyond were present.
The 29-year-old officer was killed and another officer seriously injured on August 7 when a passenger in a vehicle opened fire because of an expired license plate during a routine traffic check
French is the first member of the department to be killed in service for nearly three years. She is the fifth female member of the department to die on duty and the first since 1988 – three years before French was born.
Despite being the first officer to be fatally shot in Chicago that year, she was just one of nearly 40 police officers shot – 11 of whom were hit by bullets.
The other officer who was shot dead, Carlos Yanez Jr., remains in the hospital. Although his condition, which had been critical for several days, has improved, his father told the Chicago Sun-Times that doctors have not yet removed two bullets from his brain.
“They can’t,” Carlos Yanez Sr., a retired Chicago police officer, told the newspaper.
Yanez Jr.’s sister, Nicole Christina, a doctor who coordinates her brother’s medical team, told the Sun-Times that he had lost an eye and had “no movement on the left side of his body or right leg.”
The alleged perpetrator, 21-year-old Monty Morgan, was shot in the abdomen by a third officer. He was arrested and charged with the first degree murder of a peace officer and attempted murder.
His brother, Eric Morgan, 22, who according to prosecutors was driving the vehicle, was also arrested. He faces charges of gun possession and obstruction of justice. Both were held in the Cook County Jail without bail.
A third man accused of acting as a straw buyer to buy the weapon used in the shootings faces federal charges.
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