The suburban community of Melrose Park was in mourning Friday night following the death of police officer who lost his life hours earlier after battling the coronavirus.
Joseph Cappello worked at the Melrose Park Police Department for two years after retiring from the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico, who hasn't lost an officer in all of his 24 years as mayor, said the goodbye especially hurts.
"He really was just, for a lack of a better word, a good Joe," Serpico said. "He was a good guy."
Officer Cappello was a dedicated father, husband and a huge Chicago sports fan.
"Joe was true grit, a true brother and a true friend to so many people," said John Darge, a South Chicago Heights police officer.
The Cook County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that Cappello served as a court service deputy and worked in the evictions unit when he retired in 2016. The statement added that the sheriff's office's "hearts go out to his family, loved ones and his former colleagues during this difficult time.”
Melrose Park Director of Police Sam Pitassi descried Cappello as someone who was always dependable, trustworthy and worked hard to build relationships in the community.
Darge added that "earth lost a warrior, brother and friend but heaven gained an angel, so we just pray for his wife and his son and continue to carry on Joe’s legacy and memory."
In regard to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Serpico said the police department is doing all it can to keep its officers safe including taking temperatures before each shift and bleaching the facility daily.