A 29-year-old Chicago police officer was shot and killed over the weekend during a traffic stop, and her partner is in critical condition after suffering multiple gunshot wounds. Officer Ella French, a three-year veteran of the force, had just returned to active duty after giving birth to her daughter two months ago, when she was shot, according to news reports.
The shooting occurred just after 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 7, when French and her partner pulled over a car containing three occupants. Someone inside the car started shooting, striking the two officers, and one of the car’s occupants was also struck when the officers returned fire. All three suspects – two men and a woman – were ultimately apprehended and placed in custody.
French is the first Chicago police officer shot and killed in the line of duty since December 2018, and the first female officer in the city to suffer that fate in 33 years.
Officer French’s brother, Andrew French, spoke with the Chicago Tribune about his sister.
“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. … She’s always believed in taking care of people that can’t take care of themselves,” he said.
Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters that French and her partner were part of a unit formed last year to respond to crime hot spots in the city.
An email from department officials to the rank and file encouraged officers to “keep the families and friends of these officers in your prayers. Please continue to look out for each other on and off duty as we process this heartbreaking tragedy.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also addressed reporters.
“A mother lost her daughter last night,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “A brother, his sister. A family, forever shattered. Another continues to keep vigil at a hospital bed, sending up powerful prayers but no doubt fearing the worst.”
Over the same weekend, a total of 64 people were victims of gun violence in Chicago, with 10 deaths.
Thirty-eight Chicago police officers have been shot or shot at in 2021, according to police statistics.
Police officers perform critical public safety tasks to keep the rest of us safe, and we sometimes forget that these public servants are also husbands, wives and parents, with grieving families left to pick up the pieces after shootings like this. Please keep the family of Officer French and her partner in your prayers.