A Chicago police officer shot and killed with his own weapon on Wednesday is being remembered as a genuine individual who understood the meaning of service.
Several officers were crying during an emotional moment as mourning bunting of black and purple was placed above the doors of the Chicago Police Academy building, at 1300 W. Jackson St., in honor of Officer Thor Soderberg.
"Thor is a different individual. Thor is the most genuine individual you would ever meet. He showed me how I should live in my life," said Officer Walter Metcalf.
"Any time a police officer's taken from us is never easy. But this one just seems to hurt a little but more," said Sgt Jeff Schaaf. "You couldn't ask for a nicer man, a better man, than Thor. He was probably one of the nicest human beings I've ever met in my life. The void we feel right now...we'll probably never recover."
The sentiments echo those expressed by Soderberg's close friends just hours after he was killed.
"He never thought of himself first. He always thought of others first," said Mazen Istanbouli, a DePaul University political science professor and close friend Soderberg. "I always said [that he] gave a very good name anywhere he goes for the Chicago police. He was just a great example of service and he never thought of recognition. He never thought of awards. He always thought of service."
Istanbouli, who is blind, said Soderberg was always selfless and helped him train for and compete in triathalons.
"When I asked him at one time that I would like him to share the recognition with me about the triathlon, that he should be recognized. He did the work, he did the effort, he guided me through everything, and he told me, 'No, I'm doing it for you and not for me.' He wasn't there for himself, truly," Istanbouli recalled.
The pair had recently run together in a race to honor fallen officers.
Soderberg died in the parking lot of the old Englewood District police station, now used by the department's Targeted Response Unit, when a 24-year-old man grabbed his weapon and fired off a shot, police said.
The alleged shooter was later wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police and is in police custody.
Thor Soderberg Fund
Officer Soderberg's wife, Jennifer Loudon, has created a fund in her husband's name: The Thor Soderberg Fund -- Connecting Youth with Nature.
Contributions may be made by check or online:
By check, please put "The Thor Soderberg Fund - Connecting Youth with Nature" in the memo field.
The Chicago Community Foundation
111 E. Wacker, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60611
Donations may also be made online at www.cct.org/give.
For 95 years, The Chicago Community Trust has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2009, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations. From strengthening schools to assisting local art programs, from building health centers to helping lives affected by violence, the Trust continues to enhance our region.