WEST ENGLEWOOD — Two brothers have been charged with killing Chicago police officer Ella French and wounding her partner in a shootout Saturday, while a third person is facing federal charges for buying the gun used in the attack.
Emonte Morgan, 21, of the 1900 block of East 73rd Street, is charged with first-degree murder of a peace officer, attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.
Eric Morgan, 19, of the 1200 block of North Cleveland Avenue, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and obstruction of justice.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced the charges Monday afternoon. The Morgans are scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday.
“This is the first step toward justice as we work to honor our fallen officer and her partner,” Supt. David Brown said at a news conference Monday.
The shooting happened 9:08 p.m. Saturday in the 6300 block of South Bell Street.
Three officers had pulled over a driver for having expired plates when one of the three people inside the car, a passenger, shot at the police, Brown said. Brown said Emonte Morgan struggled with French outside and near the car when the officer was shot.
French, 29, was killed. She had three and a half years on the force. She is survived by her mother and brother, Brown said.
A second officer, a man with six years on the force, was wounded. He remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday but is “incrementally improving,” Brown said.
The officers shot back at the alleged gunman, Emonte Morgan, hitting him, Brown said. He was hospitalized.
Emonte Morgan and two other people who were in the car — a man and a woman — were taken into custody and interviewed Sunday, Brown said. A gun was found at the scene after the shooting, Brown said.
The woman has not been charged, Brown said.
Also Monday, the feds charged Jamel Danzy, 29, of Indiana, with conspiracy to violate federal weapons laws in connection with the shootings.
Federal authorities allege Danzy bought the semi-automatic handgun used to shoot French and her partner and falsely stated he was the actual buyer. He bought the weapon in March in Hammond, Indiana, Brown said.
The feds allege Danzy was a straw purchaser, buying the gun on behalf of someone in Chicago who could not legally buy a weapon. That person was Eric Morgan, and Danzy gave the weapon to the younger Morgan, Brown said.
Danzy is being held in federal custody, charged with knowingly transferring and giving a gun to an out-of-state resident, knowingly making a false written statement to acquire a gun and knowingly disposing of a gun to a convicted felon. His next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Brown previously said 38 Chicago police officers have been shot or shot at this year, what he called a record pace. French was the first officer to be fatally shot this year and the first female officer to be killed in the line of duty since Irma Ruiz was killed in 1988 confronting an armed attacker at Moses Montefiore School in Near West Side.
Brown said officers feel discouraged.
“They feel alone, they feel unsupported, they feel like no one appreciates the work they do,” Brown said. “It’s past time to stop this unbalanced treatment of police officers here in Chicago and everywhere in this country. We’re flawed … but they go down dark alleys none of you would go down to protect you. They run toward bullets. … No one would do that but these brave men and women — run toward bullets being fired, run toward danger, risking their lives to protect the people of this city. A ‘thank you’ is in order.”
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