The mother of an Illinois state trooper who died in a shooting on the Dan Ryan Expressway spoke to reporters Friday, describing her son as a kind person who always wanted to protect others.
The trooper, identified by family as Gerald Mason, 35, sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound before 1:43 p.m. on the expressway near West 43rd Street, according to multiple police sources. He was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center and later pronounced dead.
Mason's mother, Linda Mason, said she received a call from her younger son that afternoon after he learned about a shooting involving a trooper. She called Gerald's phone, but he didn't answer.
A short time later, she received a call from the University of Chicago Medical Center and was told to head to the hospital right away.
Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters.
"I knew it wasn't good," she said.
Linda Mason said Gerald was her first born - her "baby" - and one of four siblings. As a state trooper, he regularly patrolled Chicago-are expressways, including Interstate 55 and Interstate 57.
"Of course I'm proud of my son, I've always been proud of him, I'm proud of all the choices he made in his life," Linda Mason said.
Following Gerald Mason's death, his colleagues from the Illinois State Police, Chicago police officers and other law enforcement members took part in a procession, escorting his body from the hospital to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
"I love him, I'm going to miss him so so so so much, my heart hurts so bad," Linda Mason said.
The fallen trooper's mother added her son simply wanted to make the world a better place.
"That's why he became a cop," she said. "He became a cop, I became a nurse. We wanted to save people."