CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – Friends, family and several dozen Chicago Police officers were among those on hand Saturday at the unveiling of a memorial to a fallen Chicago Police officer.
Michael Ceriale had been a Chicago Police officer for only 15 months when he was shot to death while conducting drug surveillance in the Wentworth District on August 21, 1998.
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The memorial consists of a flagpole and plaque at the corner of California and Berteau in Horner Park, near Ceriale’s childhood home.
Ceriale played football at Gordon Tech, played in recreational basketball leagues and was known for his love of the outdoors. Several speakers said Ceriale grew up in Horner Park, and that the memorial was in an appropriate location.
Some of those who attended and spoke knew Ceriale from the neighborhood, such as Frank Fee, who called him a “warrior” who liked being on the front lines.
Others were Chicago Police officers.
“What I remember about Mike is his strength, his sense of humor and his dedication to duty,” said Officer Chris Shepherd, who worked with Ceriale in the Wood Street district and is now assigned to the Albany Park district, in which the memorial is located.
Shepherd said he thinks about Ceriale daily and always says a prayer for him. He said the memorial will give him a place to to pause and do that for a few minutes.
“Like Mike, I attended Gordon Tech. Like him, I played football,” said Sgt. Michael Lozzaro, who also was assigned to the Wentworth district tactical squad when Ceriale was killed. “I really miss him. It was a terrible event when it happened. God bless him and God bless his family.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) presented a flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol, and will be the first flag flown from the flagpole. Architect Peter Schlossman, who sits on the Horner Park Advisory Council and designed the memorial, said it would be a “respectful remembrance” of Ceriale and other Chicago Police officers who have died in the line of duty.