2 charged, 1 with murder, in fatal shooting of CPD Officer Ella French during traffic stop

Hammond man charged with buying gun used to kill Officer Ella French

ByLiz Nagy, Evelyn Holmes, and Alexis McAdams and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
2 charged, 1 with murder, in fatal shooting of CPD officer
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Two brothers have been charged, one with murder, in the fatal shootinbg of CPD Officer Ella French during a traffic stop over the weekend.

CHICAGO -- Two people have been charged in the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Officer Ella French who was killed during a traffic stop in West Englewood Saturday night. Her partner remains in the hospital after being shot.

Emonte Morgan, 21, is charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

Eric Morgan, 22, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said.

WATCH: Police Supt. David Brown announces charges in fatal shooting of Officer Ella French

Police say Emonte Morgan both killed French and shot her partner three times. His brother Eric, police say, was driving the car the officers had pulled over for expired tags.

Both are due in court for a bail hearing Tuesday afternoon.

"This is the first step toward justice as we work to honor our fallen officer and her partner," said CPD Supt. David Brown.

Flags across the city are flying at half-staff. The 29-year-old was remembered with the raising of a purple and black mourning flag. A vigil was held in West Englewood for her Monday night, the spot where she was killed marked with a cross bearing her name and her department photo.

"She was courageous, spontaneous," said CPD Officer Erica Hernandez, fighting tears. "She was an amazing person to be aroun.d"

First responders showed their support with another group of firefighters bringing a few boxes of donuts to Area One Monday for officers.

A third suspect is in stable condition at Christ Hospital, police said.

Police said the three suspects were being pulled over in a routine traffic stop Saturday night near 63rd Street and Bell Avenue in West Englewood when police said they exchanged gunfire with the community safety officers, including Officer French.

Neighbors who lived nearby said they heard at least four gunshots.

RELATED: Officer Ella French's shooting is biggest test of Mayor Lightfoot so far

New surveillance video shows a car stopped by police on North Bell. Police said both Officer French and her partner approached the car and the three people inside.

Investigators said the officers demanded one of the suspects get out of the car. There was a physical altercation and the suspect later opened fire, shooting both officers.

Then a man in the front seat, who police said was also armed with a gun, ran off. In the video you can see someone run from the scene. Neighbors said it was the driver, who then jumped the fence to get away.

The neighbors said they tackled the man, who was also armed with a gun, and waited for officers to take him into custody. That suspect was injured by police.

"To die over a traffic stop, I am sorry, that just hurt me so bad," said Yvette Smith, neighbor paying her respects.

"Traffic stops have always been a tough thing for police, because you know what you're doing but you have no idea what that person is, if they're wanted for some heinous crime," said Phil Cline, executive director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. "They have a gun in this case here. So you've got to approach each traffic stop like that, and that's tough."

Community members and police officers set up a small memorial, tying a tree with ribbon and leaving behind a teddy bear as they returned to duty.

"I am praying for healing for everybody," Smith said. "It's getting really bad. It cannot stay like this."

French joined the Chicago Police Department in 2018 after previously working with the Cook County Sheriff's Department.

French is the first female Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty since 1988. This is also the first time a CPD officer has died in the line of duty since Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office.

"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."

Officer French's brother also shed some more light on who his sister was. in a statement to the Chicago Tribune, he said, "She's my sister, she's my little sister. And as much as I was there for her when we were growing up, she was there for me. And I was proud of her, I'm still proud of her...God took the wrong kid."

Hammond man charged with straw purchase of gun used in shooting

Prosecutors filed federal charges against an Indiana man for purchasing the gun used in the shooting that killed Ofc. French.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested Jamel Danzy of Hammond for allegedly purchasing the Glock 44 .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol used in the shooting, which police said was in the possession of one of the suspects when he was arrested. Court documents said they believe that weapon fired the shots that killed Ofc. French.

The ATF said the vehicle that the CPD officers had stopped belonged to Danzy, though he was not in the car at the time. A search on the gun showed Danzy had purchased it in Hammond in March.

ATF agents said they found and interviewed Danzy about the purchase, and that he admitted he bought the gun to give to the suspect, who he said could not legally purchase a gun due to a criminal conviction in in Wisconsin.

Danzy has been charged with conspiracy to violate federal firearms laws, including knowingly transferring and giving a firearm to an out-of-state resident, knowingly making a false written statement to acquire a firearm, and knowingly disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon.

He appeared in court Monday and was ordered held in custody until another hearing on Wednesday.

2nd officer remains in ICU in critical condition

Meanwhile, family remains at the bedside of Officer French's partner as he continues to fight for his life.

The officer, who remains in the ICU, has been on the job since August 2014. Friends say he is 39 years old and married with a young son.

Sources tell the I-Team that the wounded officer has three gunshot wounds: One exited an eye, one lodged in the back of the head and one struck his shoulder.

"I'm asking Chicago to wrap their arms around our police officers today and encourage them to continue their great work in protecting us all," Superintendent David Brown said.

WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot, CPD speak after 2 officers shot

The pastor at his church had a moment of silence for him during Sunday service adding that he loved the community he served.

"The father, I was telling him, 'you need to get some rest,'" New Life Community Church Pastor Mark Jobe said. "He said, 'No, I'm gonna stay here as many days as it takes and not leave my son's side.'"

He went on to say the officer loved the community where he was shot, "had a real heart for the community, for the people."

WATCH: CPD officer 1st woman fatally shot in line of duty since 1988

"It wasn't a duty where he felt he was stuck in this area. He really loved that place and has an amazing wife and a little boy," Jobe said.

Daughter of 1st female CPD officer killed in line of duty mourns for Ofc. French

This marks the 27th time a Chicago police officer has been shot at this year and the 11th time an officer has been shot.

Irma Ruiz-Collins understands the loss all too well.

"There's an immediate sense of dread, of not again, of shock, of sadness," she said.

Named after her mother, Irma Ruiz-Collins is the daughter of Chicago police Officer Irma Ruiz, who was shot and killed confronting a gunman inside a West Side school in 1988.

Until Saturday, Ruiz was the last female officer to be killed in the line of duty.

"Your daughter was here to serve and protect. And now she'll be able to do that for you, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual. And know that many, many people are thinking of you. And we love you and we're praying for you," Ruiz-Collins said to the French family.