Two Chicago Police Officers Shot, 1 Dies After Traffic Stop Near 63rd St and Bell Ave


3 suspects in custody

Chicago Police Officer Ella French (SOURCE: Chicago Police Department)
Chicago Police Officer Ella French (SOURCE: Chicago Police Department).

One female Chicago police officer was killed in a shooting Saturday night August 7, 2021 near 63rd Street and Bell Avenue in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood just west of Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood. A second officer was wounded, and listed in critical condition at University of Chicago Hospital.

Police identified the officer that was killed as 29-year-old Ella French.

Two Chicago police officers were working on Saturday, August 7, 2021 about 9:08 p.m. on a traffic stop with two males and one female in the stopped vehicle in the block of 6300 South Bell Avenue — a one-way street just south of 63rd Street. One of the occupants inside the vehicle opened fire towards the police officers, which led to an exchange of gunfire. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, cited preliminary information that indicates a male passenger shot at the police officers.

63rd Street and Bell Avenue Chicago (Image capture October 2019 ©2021 Google)
63rd Street and Bell Avenue Chicago (Image capture October 2019 ©2021 Google).

The police officers were struck by gunfire at the scene of the traffic stop. Both were transported to the hospital where one of the officers, Ella French, died from her injuries.

After the shooting and exchange of gunfire, police were in a foot pursuit with a male black suspect wearing a Chicago Cubs jersey. Two male suspects were in custody by about 9:11 p.m. One suspect was discovered shot and was transported by Chicago Fire Department paramedics to Advocate Christ Medical Center. The female suspect was initially at large on foot. The alleged shooter has at least a criminal history for arrest for robbery in 2019.

Police immediately shut down 63rd Street to Western Avenue as the wounded police officers were each transported in the back seats of police vehicles to Level 1 Trauma Center University of Chicago. The emergency route was from 63rd and Bll to Western Avenue to Garfield Boulevard (55th Street), and then to Morgan Avenue to the Emergency Room entrance.

While rushing Ella French to the hospital, a police officer was performing CPR in the back seat of the police vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police Officer Ella French was assigned to the police department’s community safety team working with the gun task force. She is the first line of duty death for the department in nearly three years. She is the fifth female CPD officer to be killed while on-duty.

The name of the other police officer, who survived overnight critically injured, was not initially released.

A large perimeter was established from 55th Street to 70th Street and from Damen Avenue to Western Avenue to search for the female “at large”. The female suspect was described as a female/black, age in her 20s, short with a medium build, wearing a hoodie of unknown color, and blue jeans shorts. After a long search with K-9 units and a Cook County Sheriff’s Office bloodhound, and the assistance of a police helicopter, the female suspect was arrested under circumstances that were initial not disclosed.

Police also received at least two detections from ShotSpotter of multiple shots fired in the area of the search perimeter. One of the shots fired calls was near 71st Street and Western Avenue with rapid gunfire heard with about 15 rounds fired. Another ShotSpotter detected 7 rounds at 7031 South Western Avenue. Both were southwest of the crime scene.

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The same weekend Ella French was killed, there were two mass shootings in the Gresham neighborhood, and several triple shootings in the city. Less than 24 hours after Ella French was shot, a man was shot in the chest at 71st Street and Western Avenue — a few blocks from 63rd Street and Belle Avenue. Between 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday, at least 45 people were shot in the City of Chicago.

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On Sunday, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other police officials held a news conference. Brown said much of the incident was captured on a body camera recording, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) will determine the release of the video.

“Our hearts ache for the loss of life.”

— Mayor Lori Lightfoot

The previous Chicago police officer shot to death in the line of duty was Samuel Jimenez, age 28, who was killed after responding to a shooting at Mercy Hospital on November 19, 2018.

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