The female Chicago police officer killed in West Englewood on Saturday night, August 7, was identified as 29-year-old Ella French, who had been in the force for three years. A second officer was also critically wounded.
Officer French and her partner were conducting a traffic stop as a male suspect opened fire on them. French succumbed to her injuries after the pair were rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, while the other officer remained “fighting for his life,” Fox News reported.
Her brother, Andrew French, an Iraq War veteran, said his sister had always been a caring person at heart, reported Chicago Tribune.
“My sister’s always been a person of integrity. She’s always done the right thing even when nobody’s looking. She’s always believed in people and believed in doing the right thing,” he said. “… She’s always believed in taking care of people that can’t take care of themselves.”
Andrew French said his sister wanted to give people therapy or social assistance rather than simply giving them prison time even before she joined the force.
“She was a humanitarian. She believed in human rights,” he said. “She was one of the officers on the force that thought they needed reform.”
“Because she’s seen the front line, just like I have. She’s always been a very caring person … When I was in Iraq, me and her, we talked. And she has some attributes that you don’t find in this world anymore.”
Authorities said French was the first Chicago police officer fatally shot since Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office three years ago. Three suspects had been detained, but their names had not been disclosed yet, the New York Times reported.
Police Superintendent David Brown said background checks revealed one of the three individuals had a robbery conviction in 2019.
“It seems that neither of the three offenders have extensive [criminal] background,” he said.
The night of the incident, a large group of Chicago police officers gathered overnight outside the University of Chicago Medical Center to pray for the two victims.
“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,” Brown said in a statement on Sunday, August 8.
“They go to work risking everything to serve the people of Chicago. They come to work willing to run toward danger. Toward gunfire. And they’re willing to sacrifice their lives to save the lives of perfect strangers.”
Brown said the number of police officers targeted in shootings had risen this year. Including the Saturday night occurrence, there had been 38 officers who were shot at or shot this year.
Brown described the figure as substantial after 79 officers were shot or wounded by gunfire in the entire year of 2020, a 500% rise over the number of officers shot at or shot in 2019.
In honor of the two police officers, Chicago Mayor Lightfoot said there should be a cease in the conflicting views for and against the police force.
“This constant strife is not what we need in this moment,” Lightfoot said, according to Fox News.
“The police are not our enemies. They’re human, just as we are. Flawed, just as we are. But also risking their lives every day for our safety and security,” she stated.
“We have a common enemy. It’s the guns and the gangs,” she added. “Eradicating both is complex. But we cannot let the size of the challenge deter us. We have to continue striking hard blows every day.”