CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago police sergeant is the second member of the Chicago Police Department to die of COVID-19.
Sgt. Clifford Martin was a 25-year veteran of the department who served in the Area Central detective division, according to Interim Supt. Charlie Beck. He died Friday.READ MORE: RealTime Weather Alert: Wet And Windy Through Monday Morning, Flooding Possible
Martin leaves behind a wife and three children, two of whom also became Chicago police officers.
“It’s a testament to Sgt. Martin’s own commitment to service that two of his children have followed in his footsteps by becoming Chicago police officers,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Saturday.
Beck said he had a chance to speak with Martin’s widow, and she urged citizens to follow social distancing guidelines during the pandemic.
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Deeply saddened to learn of our second CPD officer to pass away from COVID-19. This death is the latest painful reminder of the danger of this disease and how no one is immune. Our prayers are with their family and fellow officers who are grieving over this terrible loss.
— Mayor Lightfoot #StayHomeSaveLives (@chicagosmayor) April 10, 2020
“Even in her grief she said her husband would want his death to serve as a warning to civilians that they must stay home,” Lightfoot said. “Don’t make their sacrifices be in vain. Stay home and save lives. And when you do leave, whether it’s to purchase groceries or because you are an essential worker, please do so with the utmost of caution and most of all do not congregate. Do not force our officers to be called upon to break up gatherings in our parks and streets.
Beck said Martin grew up in a housing development in Chicago.
Today we announce the passing of Detective Sgt. Cliff Martin from complications of #COVID19. He was a Chicagoan through and through and he loved being a Chicago cop. Two of his children followed their Dad's footsteps of becoming a Chicago Police Officer. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/WE0zWb3JPT
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) April 11, 2020
“He worked his way forward to become one of the most respected detectives in the Chicago Police Department,” Beck said. “When I talked to Cliff when he tested positive his first words were that he was concerned about his family, he wanted to tell me about his children, and he wanted to tell me how badly he wanted to come back to work.”
Martin was hospitalized for two weeks after first showing symptoms of COVID-19 on March 20. He left work on March 22. Beck said how he contracted the virus is a matter of speculation.
“Unfortunately this is a very, very difficult murder to trace, and I think that is the key to this. How do we go back and find out where it came from,” Beck said.MORE NEWS: Riggs, Kenosha County Sheriff's K-9 Shot By Chicago Homicide Suspect, Is Released From Veterinary Hospital To Applause
Martin is the second member of the Chicago Police Department to die of the coronavirus. Marco DiFranco, a 21-year veteran of the force was laid to rest Thursday morning.