Chicago (CBS) — The sequence of events that eventually led to the tragic deaths of two Chicago police officers began with a gun found by happenstance in an alley.
Edward Brown is now in jail on felony weapons charges, and would have to pay $20,000 to bond out. His lawyer said his family does not believe they will be able to come up with the money. Brown is the man who police say two CPD officers were chasing across the railroad tracks in Rosemoor when they were accidentally struck and killed by a train.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said Brown was walking home from the 95th Street CTA station after work when he went into an alley to urinate. That’s where he found a fanny pack with a handgun, two magazines, a FOID card and a bundle of ammunition.
Brown took the gun home and later decided to go to the train tracks near 103rd Street and Dauphin Avenue to test it out. He climbed over the protective fence at that location to get up the embankment to the tracks. He fired a shot once into the air and another shot in the direction of a school that was not in session and a closed park.
Both shots were detected by ShotSpotter, and Officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo responded in a marked CPD vehicle.
The State’s Attorney’s Office said Brown had just come down the embankment when the officers arrived. He saw the officers, ran back up the embankment and then ran south down the tracks and east across the tracks.
The officers followed and were facing an oncoming Metra Electric train but did not see the South Shore Line train that was coming up being them at a speed of at least 60 miles per hour. They were killed instantly and the details given by investigators are unsettling.
“Officer Marmolejo’s body was dismembered as a result of the impact of the train,” assistant state’s attorney Guy Lisuzzo said. “His vest and most of his clothes were disintegrated. Officer Gary suffered catastrophic injuries to his head area as a result of the impact of the train.”
Officer Marmolejo’s body cam shows the moments leading up to his death. Officer Gary’s body cam was not viewable because it melted to his vest upon impact.
The South Shore train immediately hit its brakes and stopped.
Brown, who was unaware of the deaths according to his lawyer, ran down a set of stairs and encountered another pair of officers. He told them he found a gun and had fired it on the tracks. He was placed into custody and gave a videotaped statement. He did not have a current, valid license to carry a firearm.
It was not until the two officers and Brown were almost at the police station that they learned Officers Gary and Marmolejo had been struck by a train and killed.
On Wednesday, he was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
His attorney Frank Kostouros told CBS 2 Brown should have turned the gun into police, but he should not be held responsible for the officers’ tragic deaths.
“What happened to these officers obviously is completely tragic,” Kostouros said. “But, let’s not punish a kid for murder when he did not commit murder.”
Officer Conrad Gary’s funeral is set for Friday. Officer Marmolejo’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.