A young Bloomingdale police officer was killed in a car accident while on-duty Thursday night, officials said.
Around 9:30 p.m., 27-year-old officer Raymond Murrell was responding to a call about a possible retail theft in progress with multiple offenders when his unmarked SUV crashed into a pole near the intersection of Army Trail Road and Cardinal Avenue in the west suburb, police said.
Bloomingdale Police Chief Frank Giammarese said Murrell was a young officer with less than a year on the job, but that he made a big impact in his tragically short career in the force.
“This is a horrible day for our department,” Giammarese said.
The officer was extricated from the mangled SUV by Bloomingdale firefighters before being rushed to Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Murrell’s mother was out of state visiting friends at the time she was notified her son had been involved in the accident.
His father was with him at the hospital when he died, police said.
It was just a few months ago the 27-year-old received a commendation for saving the life of someone who was having a heart attack, Giammarese said.
“He was a shining star,” Giammarese said.
Giammarese said his heart goes out to Murrell’s loved ones as they continue the process of notifying all of his family members, adding again “this is a horrible day” for the department.
"We are hanging together,” Giammarese said. “It is a sad day for all of us.”
The Bloomingdale Police Department changed their Facebook photo early Friday morning to pay tribute to the fallen officer, with quickly more than 100 comments and shares from the post expressing extreme sorrow and pain on the loss of Murrell.
One of those messages was from a man who said he was Murrell's uncle, Hector Lopez.
"Lord help me understand why you do what you do," Lopez wrote on Facebook with a photo of Murrell. "My Nephew was a good man. He had the bigest hart.[sic] He never harmed anyone. He only wanted to help. You took him from us way too soon. Now my heart is broken wide open. The pain is unbarable [sic]."
It was raining heavily at the time of the crash, leading authorities to believe that weather likely played a role. It is unknown how fast the SUV was going, but the vehicle’s emergency lights were on, Giammarese said.
An accident reconstruction scene was brought in Friday morning to investigate the exact cause of the fatal accident.