EDISON PARK — Slain police officer Samuel “Sammy” Jimenez will be honored by friends and former colleagues on the Northwest Side Tuesday night.
Jimenez, a 28-year-old husband and father of three, was killed when a gunman opened fire at Mercy Hospital Monday. Though he worked in the Wentworth (2nd) Police District on the South Side, his roots were on the Northwest Side, former colleagues said.
“Well, Sammy was like a father figure, an older brother, who was always looking out for everybody,” said Daniel Torres, a manager at Moretti’s Edison Park, 6727 N. Olmsted Ave.
Jimenez worked as a busser at the restaurant from 2008 to 2012 and became fishing buddies with Torres. “His older brother worked here too and I remember Sammy always looking out for him. It’s funny Sammy was the younger brother but he was the ‘older brother’ too.”
After they became friends, Torres left Moretti’s for a while to work for Chase Bank before returning to the restaurant. When Torres told Jimenez he needed to travel for work, he remembers his friend expressing a desire to see the world. But first, he had to become a police officer.
“He kept working hard and I knew he would get to that point where he could travel as well,” Torres said. “And when he got the offer to join the police department I was so happy for him. I called him to congratulate him because his hard work was paying off.”
On Monday, Jimenez and his partner were working elsewhere when they got the call about the shooting at Mercy Hospital, said Supt. Eddie Johnson during a Monday night news conference. They responded to the shooting and heard gunfire when they arrived at the hospital.
“When they pulled up, they heard the gunshots and they did what heroic officers always do: They ran towards that gunfire,” Johnson said. “So they weren’t assigned to the call. They just went. Because that’s what we do.”
Relatively new to the force, Jimenez had joined in February 2017 and completed his probationary period shortly before the shooting. He was the second Chicago Police officer killed in the line of duty in 2018.
Torres remembers going out to celebrate with Jimenez the night he found out he would become a police officer.
“Around that time one of his sons was being born and Sammy told me he was so happy that he would be able to take care of him, give him good benefits and let him know his father was a police officer,” Torres said.
The Edison Park community will gather at Firewater Saloon, 6689 N. Oliphant Ave., on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to remember him.
Melissa McIntyre, executive director of the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce, said they’ll be handing out blue ribbons for neighbors to hang around the area in his honor.
Donations to benefit Jimenez’s family will also be accepted, and Firewater will have a complimentary buffet.
This Thursday is Edison Park’s turkey trot. McIntyre said one of the event’s benefactors this year is the Chicago Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
“Our goal is to put the blue ribbons throughout the Edison Park business district as well as the route of the turkey trot,” McIntyre said.
“We need to pay respect to Sammy’s family and make sure they’re taken care of as well. I know there’s a lot of negativity around police, especially in Chicago,” Torres said. “But they’re in the line of fire every day. Sammy was the kind of person where, when something like that shooting happened, he was always the first in. He saved lives. Yesterday could have potentially been a lot worse than it was.”
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.