CHICAGO (CBS)—A long, somber procession started before daybreak Tuesday morning, as hundreds of police vehicles escorted the bodies of two Chicago police officers killed Monday night by a speeding train as they pursued an armed suspect.
Both young police officers had been on the force for less than three years. They were both husbands and fathers.
Eduardo Marmolejo, 36, and Conrad Gary, 31, both lost their lives when they were hit by a South Shore train near 103rd and Cottage Grove.
Marmolejo was married with three young children and Gary was married with an infant.
Both officers lived in South Side neighborhoods and worked out of the Fifth District police station–also known as the Calumet District on 111th Street.
Shortly after learning of the deaths of the young officers, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed disbelief and grief.
“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,” Emanuel said while speaking to reporters Monday night.
Superintendent Johnson said chasing someone carrying a gun is the most dangerous part of a police officer’s job.
A sea of blue surrounded the pre-dawn procession Tuesday morning, which started at 103rd and Cottage Grove near the train tracks where the officers lost their lives.
The procession ended at the Medical Examiner’s office.
The tragedy began when the officers were responding to a call of shots fired in the area of 101st and Dauphine.
Superintendent Johnson says the officers were so focused on the job at hand that they did not realize a train was barreling toward them on the tracks at an estimated speed of 60-70 MPH.
The train came to a screeching halt, but struck the two officers.
“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.”
The deaths bring the total number of Chicago police officers killed in 2018 to four.
It’s still unclear whether the suspect ran onto the tracks, or how the officers ended up in the path of the oncoming train.
Passengers described a scraping sound, and say the conductor raced through the aisles, telling passengers there was an emergency.
Passengers said the conductor was visibly shaken.
Passenger Becky Cruz described being inside the train that hit the officers.
“I was on my phone and I just heard a thump and that’s when the train stopped,” Cruz said. “I thought the trains were maybe old. After an hour I heard there was an emergency, (and) police officers came on board to get passenger’s information.”
According to CBS 2 Director of Digital Content John Dodge, who was on the 5:58 p.m. train from Millennium Station, the train stopped around 6:20 p.m.
Dodge said the power went off and train workers could be seen on the tracks with flashlights.
Passengers were escorted off the train and onto buses around 9 p.m. They were then taken to another train.
Passengers on Tuesday morning were experiencing some delays, and service on the Eastbound 203 is canceled today. Train 205 is running in its place.
Two police officers have been struck by a South Shore train, Chicago police confirm. Both officers have died, the Fraternal Order of Police says.
The deaths of fallen Chicago police officers 31-year-old Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo, 36, are part of a tragic year for CPD’s 5th District—Calumet–which covers several South Side neighborhoods.