Just blocks from the church where funeral services were held for fallen Chicago Police Officer Ella French, kids taped a poster to a gate, signed with their handprints. It read: “RIP Ofc. French. We love you.”
Deshante Wright, owner of Kiddie College Learning Center, says she wants to teach her young students how to spread love in difficult times.
“They grow up. We want to teach that and instill that in them,” said Wright. “Those are our values.”
As the kids showed off their sign, Cmdr. Watson of the Lincolnshire Police Department thanked the kids. He was greeted with several hugs.
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“The concern and compassion for Officer French has been overwhelming,” said Watson. “This is one of the largest turnouts and I’ve been to a lot of funerals.”
At the intersection of 79th Street and Western Avenue, Daniel Hernandez stood with his family, holding an American flag. As officers departed the funeral, he thanked them for their service.
“I have a lot of friends, family that are first responders. It hits you right in the stomach, you know?” said Hernandez. “They see me, and I know it makes them feel good.”
Some say Chicago isn’t a big city, but a big town.
Luz Martinez’s son graduated in the same police academy class as French.
“Every mother’s or parent’s worst nightmare, you know, to get that kind of call,” said Martinez. “So, I’m just showing my support like any other parent would do.”
Just blocks from the church where the fallen CPD officer’ funeral services were held, Larry Watson watched from his autobody shop where he’s been servicing CPD squad cars for more than a decade.
“They’re just regular people doing their job. So, for us, it’s just a real heartfelt moment,” said Watson. “Somebody that you’re talking to could be subject to this kind of violence.”
Despite the rain, some residents stood outside for hours.
James Ewer got as close to the church as he could.
“It becomes more personal than just sitting at home, watching it on the tv,” said Ewer. “For what it’s worth, it’s a tiny show of support for the people who do see me here and I think that’s important.”
To see more tributes from the Chicago community, watch the video above.