Chicago police Officer Ella French is the first female officer fatally shot in the line of duty in Chicago in 33 years (Picture: Chicago Police Department)
A 29-year-old female police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Chicago on Saturday. Ella French was the first female cop to be fatally shot on the job in more than three decades, according to the Chicago Police Department.
French’s death was also the first fatal shooting of a Chicago cop on the job since 2018.
‘We will never forget the true bravery she exemplified as she laid her life down to protect others,’ the department said of French in a Facebook post on Sunday evening.
The department added that fellow officers will ‘grieve the loss of this hero’ and that it requested support for French’s ‘wounded partner, who is in the hospital fighting for his life’.
French’s death prompted a shockwave of reactions on social media, with some sympathetic to her passing and others believing officers like her act with impunity and receive special treatment.
The debate was so heated that Chicago Mayor Lori Littlefoot called on her constituents to unify.
‘Stop. Just stop,’ Lightfoot said during a press conference on Sunday. ‘This constant strife is not what we need in this moment.’
Lightfoot declared a day of mourning and called for all flags to be flown at half staff.
‘The police are not our enemies,’ Lightfoot said. ‘We must come together… We have a common enemy: It’s the guns and the gangs.’
French and her partner were patroling when they stopped a vehicle with two men and a woman inside shortly after 9pm in the South Side, according to CBS News. One of the men opened fire, allegedly killing French and critically injuring her partner, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said during the same news conference.
Officers returned fire at the passenger behind the first shots. The condition of the attacker was not immediately known. All three of the assailants were taken into custody, but charges were not filed at the time, Brown said.
The identities of the three assailants have not been released.
Lightfoot said French ‘was very young on the job, but incredibly enthusiastic to do the work’.
Samuel Jimenez, 38, was the last Chicago officer to be shot to death in the line of duty on November 19, 2018.
Officer Irma Ruiz was the last female officer shot to death in uniform, inside of an elementary school in 1988.
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