2 Chicago police officers hit and killed by train
CHICAGO — Two Chicago police officers were killed Monday night when they were hit by a train while investigating a call of shots fired on the city’s Far South Side, sources said.
Officers Eduardo Marmolejo, 37, and Conrad Gary, 31, were killed in the line of duty while responding to a call for service on the railroad tracks. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said both men were fathers of young children. Marmolejo had two and a half years on the force, and Gary 18 months, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
The officers were doing surveillance after a report by the ShotSpotter gunfire locator system when they were hit by an outbound South Shore train around 6:20 p.m.
Both officers were assigned to the Calumet police district, which covers several Far South Side neighborhoods, including Roseland and West Pullman.
Police recovered a weapon near where the officers were struck and were questioning a person of interest late Monday, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
In a departmentwide memo, Johnson said the officers were “killed in the line of duty while responding for a call of service on the railroad tracks.”
“I am deeply saddened by this tragic event and ask that everyone keep their (families) and co-workers in their thoughts and prayers,” Johnson said. “An investigation is underway, and we will keep everyone updated as details emerge.”
Metra railroad officials shut down all traffic on the Metra Electric District tracks Monday evening while authorities worked at the scene.
The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which operates South Shore trains, uses Metra tracks.
The officers’ deaths were similar to an incident on the West Side in 2002 in which Officer Benjamin Perez was fatally struck by a Metra train on an embankment while conducting an investigation.
The two Chicago police officers who died Monday are among four killed while on duty this year. Their deaths come about a month after Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, was killed in a mass shooting at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on the Near South Side. Two women, Dr. Tamara O’Neal, 38, and pharmacist Dayna Less, 24, were also killed in the Nov. 19 shooting.
On Feb. 13, Cmdr. Paul Bauer, 53, was fatally shot while chasing a suspect to a stairwell outside the Thompson Center in the Loop.
As Chicago police officers expanded the area of the crime scene on the tracks Monday evening, a bi-level rail car with the silhouettes of numerous passengers inside remained stopped on the overpass that crosses 103rd Street. Nearby, bystanders outside a Popeyes restaurant walked or ran to the area of the tracks, some ducking under the yellow police tape.
A woman in the group said she had been at her home nearby planning a trip to the restaurant when the sight of several police officers driving through alleys west of the tracks made her postpone her trip. Less than an hour later, officers swarmed the area and a police helicopter was overhead.
“Imma pray for their families. That’s all I can do. And then these people on the train, trying to get home … ” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
Two Chicago Transit Authority buses arrived in the area around 9 p.m. to offload the train passengers.