Two Chicago police
officers were fatally struck by an eastbound South Shore commuter train as
they investigated a report of gunshots on the city’s far South Side.
37, and Conrad Gary, 31, were pursuing a person heading toward the train
tracks when they were hit shortly after 6 p.m. Monday as the South Shore
train passed through the area, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
Police said the officers were chasing the suspect on foot.
occurred on Metra line tracks--which the South Shore uses in Illinois--near
103rd Street, just north of the Kensington station, and involved Train 119.
Johnson said that,
because there was no stop at that location, the South Shore train was
probably traveling at a speed of 60 to 70 miles per hour.
The CPD now
believes that the two officers likely didn't see or hear a train that
fatally struck them as they pursued the suspect because they were looking at
a train approaching from another direction, based on footage recovered from
the body camera worn by one of the officers.
That video shows
the officers “clearly acknowledge” a northbound train just before they were
hit by a southbound South Shore train. The CPD said that the noise made by
the northbound train likely made it impossible for the officers to hear the
South Shore train.
Johnson said an
individual was taken into custody and a weapon was recovered. He said the
investigation was still in the early stages and that more details would be
Marmolejo had been
with the department for 2 1/2 years and Gary for 18 months, Johnson said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm
Emanuel, who also spoke at the news conference, said the city had lost “two
young men, both fathers with young families.”
“There are no words
that can express the grief, the sense of loss. It just knocks you back on
your heels,” he said.
Indiana Commuter Transportation District--which operates the South Shore
line--released the following statement early this morning: “The team at the
South Shore line sends our deepest condolences to the families of the two
Chicago Police Department officers who lost their lives. Our hearts go out
to the entire CPD family. Heartfelt thanks to Metra and CTA for helping move
our passengers and to all emergency responders involved.”
accident, Monday evening’s remaining schedule of South Shore train service
was canceled: four westbound trains and five eastbound, NICTD spokesperson
Nicole Barker told the Chesterton Tribune. This morning the “active
crime scene investigation” was creating “residual delays” of 10 to 15
minutes but all trains but one were on the move and “the commute is going
well,” Barker said. She did add that eastbound Train 203 (departing
Millennium at 6:10 a.m.) was canceled, with Train 205 (departing Millennium
at 6:48 a.m.) taking its place.
the accident, the CPD held Train 119 in place, with some 500 passengers
aboard, as officers began their investigation. Passengers were not finally
released--on the powerless train--until sometime after 10 p.m., when Metra
provided a bus bridge. “We were trying to provide the passengers with water
and keep them comfortable,” Barker said. As of 8:30 a.m. today Train 119 was
still on the scene.
Chicago police use
ShotSpotter technology, or sensors that monitor for the sound of gunfire and
alert police. Johnson said the two officers went to the scene Monday after a
ShotSpotter alert went out.
“It just highlights
again how dangerous this job can be. I often say that the most dangerous
thing a police officer can do is take a weapon off of an armed individual,”
In 2002, Chicago
police officer Benjamin Perez was fatally struck by a commuter train while
conducting surveillance on narcotics activity on the city’s West Side.
Two other Chicago
officers besides Marmolejo and Gary were killed in the line of duty this
Jimenez was killed in a shootout last month after he chased a gunman inside
a hospital on Chicago’s South Side . The shooter also killed two other
people - his ex-fiancee who was an emergency room doctor and a pharmacy
resident - before taking his own life.
And in February,
Cmdr. Paul Bauer was fatally shot while pursuing a suspect in the Loop
“I think it’s
really important that we put our arms around the Chicago Police Department
and hold them up and support them at this critical juncture, because we are
so dependent on their professionalism and their sense of duty,” Emanuel said