Ella French

Chicago Police Release Blue Balloons in Honor of Fallen Officer Ella French

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The Chicago Police Department on Friday released blue and white balloons into the sky in honor of fallen Officer Ella French, who was shot and killed when a traffic stop turned violent nearly two weeks ago.

"Officers have been paying tribute to the loss of Officer Ella French all week. Tonight, @ChicagoCAPS04 paid tribute with a beautiful prayer and balloon release. Rest In Peace, Officer French - you will never be forgotten," CPD wrote in a tweet.

French will be laid to rest next week with a visitation from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Temple and a private funeral at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown released visitation and funeral information Friday, encouraging all members of the department to "join in paying tribute" to the 29-year-old officer killed in the line of duty.

French joined the department in April 2018, according to police officials. She is the first Chicago police officer to be killed in the line of duty since officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmalejo were struck and killed by a Metra train while responding to a call of shots fired in Dec. 2018.

"During her short but courageous career, Officer French earned a Department Commendation, a Physical Fitness Award, and 14 Honorable Mentions," Brown said in his release.

She is survived by her mother and four brothers.

“She truly showed the community that she loved them and would do anything for them," said fellow officer and colleague Kenneth Griffin.

French was killed after she and her partner were shot during a traffic stop late Saturday night in the city's West Englewood neighborhood.

Police said three officers stopped a car with three people inside near 63rd Street and Bell for expired plates.

When the officers approached the car, one of the vehicle’s occupants opened fire, according to authorities. French was shot in the head and her partner was also shot and remains in critical condition at a Chicago hospital.

On Saturday night, Keith Thornton experienced what he said was “one of the hardest shifts of my entire public safety career.” The Chicago dispatcher was working as two officers were shot during a traffic stop. One of them, 29-year-old Ella French, was killed and the other remains in critical condition.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled French’s death a homicide.

Two brothers have since been charged in the shooting. A third person was arrested but never charged.

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