Chicago, IL – Chicago Police Officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo were killed in the line of duty on Monday night, when they were struck by a train while pursuing a suspect on foot.
The incident occurred at approximately 6:20 p.m., after a ShotSpotter sensor detected gunfire near Dauphin Avenue and 103rd Street, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Officer Gary, 31, and Officer Marmolejo, 36, responded to the area to conduct surveillance, and soon spotted a suspect running up onto the Metra tracks.
The officers began chasing him on foot, and were struck at the 103rd Street Rosemoor train stop by a South Shore train bound for Indiana, Chicago Police Department (CPD) spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said.
"These brave young men were consumed with identifying a potential threat," CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a Monday night press conference outside the agency’s headquarters.
He said the department was in “shock” over the loss of two of its own, and that the tragedy illustrated the danger law enforcement officers face every day.
“I often say the most dangerous thing a police officer can do is take a weapon off of an armed individual, and that's what they were doing… putting the safety of others above their own," Superintendent Johnson said, according to WLS.
Investigators recovered a weapon near the site of the impact, and were questioning a subject on Monday night, Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune.
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Spokesman Mike Noland said there were between 500 and 600 passengers on the train Number 119 on Monday night, and that the trains are permitted to travel up to 65 miles per hour in the zone where the fatal collision occurred, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
No one on the train was injured in the crash, Noland said.
“You heard the train screech, like come to a screeching halt," witness Greg Brewer recalled, according to KKTV.
Brianna Medina, who was on the train at the time of the collision, said that she and her fellow passengers knew that something was wrong, but that they initially were unaware of what caused the train to come to a stop, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“It kind of felt like rocks, and it sounded like it was hitting rocks,” she recalled. “We were just sitting there in silence. About two hours later, someone finally told us what was going on.”
Both officers were assigned to the Calumet district, and were working as partners when the incident occurred, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"Pray for the families of these two heroic young men, pray for the 5th District who, even tonight, will stop at nothing to safeguard the community," Superintendent Johnson said.
Officer Marmolejo was a two-and-a-half-year veteran of the force, and leaves behind his wife and three young children, WLS reported.
Officer Gary had been with the department for 18 months, and leaves behind his wife and an infant.
“We've lost two young men, both fathers, young families," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "This holiday will never be the same for those two families. While our hearts are with them, we lost people who answered the call to try and make Chicago a better place."
A massive procession escorted the fallen officers’ bodies just before sunrise on Tuesday morning, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
"There are no words that can express the grief, the sense of loss,” Emanuel said, according to the Daily Herald. “It just knocks you back on your heels.”
"I think it's really important that we put our arms around the Chicago Police Department and hold them up and support them at this critical juncture, because we are so dependent on their professionalism and their sense of duty," the mayor added.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Chicago Police Officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Conrad Gary and Officer Eduardo Marmolejo, your lives mattered.