Flags flew at half-mast Monday as the city of Chicago mourned the life of Ella French, a 29-year-old police officer who was shot in the line of duty. The police have taken three suspects into custody and the investigation into the tragic death is ongoing.
Officer Ella French was conducting a routine traffic stop on 63rd Street and Bell Avenue in West Englewood Saturday night when suspects opened fire. The gunshots came from the backseat of a car that police had just pulled over. Officers returned gunfire and injured one of the suspects. That suspect is currently in the hospital.
There were three people in the car, two men and a woman, and it’s unclear why they fired at police. None of the suspects had criminal records.
After the shooting, Ella French and her partner were rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center to receive treatment. French passed away at the hospital from her injuries. She had been working with the Chicago Police Department for over three years.
French’s partner, a 39-year-old police officer who has been with the department for six years, remains in the hospital in critical condition. He sustained three gunshot wounds during the shooting, one in his shoulder, and two others which hit him in the head and injured his eye. His family is praying that he recovers from his injuries.
Pastor Mark Jobe from the New Life Community Church where French’s partner was a member says the officer had a real love for the community that he served. The church offered prayers for the officer so that he can go back to his wife and son.
The Chicago Police Department posted a statement on their Facebook page following the shooting and death of Ella French. “We will never forget the true bravery she exemplified as she laid her life down to protect others,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Please hold her family, loved ones, and fellow Chicago Police officers in your thoughts as we grieve the loss of this hero. Please also pray for her wounded partner, who is in the hospital fighting for his life. We’re asking for everyone to lift this officer and his family as we pray for his recovery.”
On Sunday morning, members of the police department lined the road leading to the Chicago Medical Examiner’s Office in support of Officer French. A trio of bagpipes and a drummer followed the ambulance that carried her body. Her fellow officers saluted the ambulance drove away.
Ella French is the first officer to be fatally shot since 2018 and the first female officer to be killed in the line of duty in 33 years. Her death marks the 27th time that a Chicago police officer has been shot at this year.
Officer Irma Ruiz was the first female officer to be fatally shot back in 1988. She was shot and killed while confronting a gunman in Chicago’s West Side. Since French’s tragic death, her daughter, Irma Ruiz-Collins, has offered her support to the French family during their mourning. “Your daughter was here to serve and protect,” Ruiz-Collins said. “And now she’ll be able to do that for you, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual. And know that many, many people are thinking of you. And we love you and we’re praying for you.”
Police bodycam footage recorded the attack. The police have yet to release the video to the public. Investigators are using the video as evidence and hope it will lead to clues to put away Ella French’s killer.