CHICAGO (CBS) — Two police officers have been struck by a South Shore train, Chicago police confirm. Both officers have died, the Fraternal Order of Police says.
Police have identified the officers as Eduardo Marmolejo, 36, and Conrad Gary, 31. Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Marmolejo had 2.5 years on the force. Gary, he said, had just 18 months.
Marmolejo was married with three young children and Gary was married with an infant.
Police say the officers were struck at 103rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. The train is stopped just south of the 103rd St./Rosemoor train station.
Police say the officers were investigating a call of shots fired when they were hit by the passing train.
Witnesses told CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar they saw the police chase then heard the screech of the train coming to a stop.
“We saw, like, this police officer chasing a guy through this gangway, running down on 111th,” said Greg Brewer. “And then he went from 111th down to the train station. And then on the train station, you know, the helicopters flashing up that way, and I don’t know where. Cops just started flying down the street. You heard the train screech, like, come to a screeching halt.”
Police say a weapon has been recovered and a person of interest is being questioned at the site where the two newly-appointed officers “lost their lives protecting their community from a gunman.”
Following the incident, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he was shocked. He said the two officers responded to a shot spotter alert and ran up an embankment near the tracks to look for the suspect. Johnson said the train was traveling 60 or 70 miles an hour and both officers were killed immediately.
“By doing the most dangerous thing any police officer can do, that is to chase an individual with a gun, these brave young men were consumed with identifying a potential threat to their community and put the safety of others above their own,” Johnson said. “It has been an immensely difficult year for the Chicago Police Department, especially for the men and women of the 5th District. They have faced tragedy after tragedy this year. I’m asking all of you, Chicago, to pray for the families of these two heroic young men and please say a prayer for the men and women of the 5th District, who even tonight will still stop at nothing to safeguard their community.”
“We’ve lost two young men, both fathers,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “This holiday will never be the same. Those two families, all our hearts are with them.”
According to CBS 2 Web Manager John Dodge, who was on the train, the power went off, and a visibly shaken conductor told riders there was an emergency and an investigation is being conducted.
Train workers could be seen on the tracks with flashlights.
Police conducted interviews with passengers on board.
An officer on the scene said this was not an intentional act, but would not give more information.
Passengers were escorted on and off the train and boarded buses around 9 p.m. They were taken to another stop south to board a new train. The train left Millennium Station at 6 p.m.
Dodge says passengers heard a scraping noise and the train came to a stop around 6:20 p.m.
Passengers boarded another train, which began moving at 10:20 p.m., almost exactly four hours after the incident.