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In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as Police Officers Memorial Day, and this week as Police Week in honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance of duty. Today, the National Memorial Ceremony is taking place in Washington DC, on the grounds of our Capital, where Officer Bernard W. Domagala and Officer Andre Van Vegten are being honored along with hundreds of other Men and Woman in law enforcement who have made the ultimate sacrifice in 2017.
This morning, we honor four Sergeants and four Officers who took some courageous actions on a quiet Sunday morning last summer. On July 9, 2017, a woman walked into the 025th District station telling officers that her adult son was holding his wife and infant child against their will at gun point in their apartment on LeClaire near Diversey on Chicago’s Northwest side. Officer Luis Lopez and Officer Christian Nunez went to the apartment to try to free the woman and infant. The Officers were able to enter the apartment, safely evacuate the wife and child without incident, however, the offender refused to cooperate with Officers and a standoff ensued. Verbal negotiation was initiated through an open window and support units summoned while Sgt. Michael Keeney and Officer Luis Lopez attempted to talk the subject out of the apartment. The suspect became volatile and refused to comply. The SWAT Team was notified and while securing a perimeter, the offender emerged from the apartment brandishing a handgun and fired it at Officer Lopez. Sgt Keeney returned fire but it did not deter the offender who ran northbound to Diversey and turned east. Responding units pursued the offender who continued to disregard all commands to drop the weapon and surrender to police. Sgt. Sonia Rios was shot at when the offender emerged from a gangway. The offender continued to flee, running through yards, jumping fences refusing all demands to stop and surrender. The offender attempted to hide in a basement stairwell and Officers Rodriguez, Hardt, and Seng all gave verbal direction to drop the gun. The offender emerged with his gun in hand pointing it at officers who fired their weapons at the offender who continued to attempt to flee running northbound in the gangway. Officers positioned at the end of the gangway returned fire ending the threat. The offender was placed into custody, his weapon was recovered and Chicago Fire Paramedics rendered aid; however, the offender ultimately succumbed to his wounds.
The actions of these Officers that day were heroic and a vivid example of how quickly things change in the life of an officer.
“When they awoke that Sunday morning, not one of these Officers were looking forward to an exchange of gunfire with an offender who had held his own family hostage, and then escaped running through a quiet neighborhood shooting indiscriminately. These officers responded to a call for help and took actions to eliminate a threat before anyone else could be harmed. It is something they do every day,” said Phil Cline, Executive Director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
Because of their demonstration of professionalism and bravery, we are proud to honor Sergeants Michael Keeney, Scott Kravitz, Sonia Rios, Erik Seng and Officers Luis Lopez, Christian Nunez, Efrain Rodriguez, and David Hardt and designate them our May Officers of the month present by Galls.
ABOUT THE CHICAGO POLICE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is a not-for- profit organization dedicated to honoring the lives of our fallen heroes. The Foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago Police Officers who were killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.
Established in 2004, the Foundation strengthens the relationship between the Chicago Police, its business and civic leaders, and its citizenry. It allows us to express our gratitude to the fallen Officers' families for the ultimate sacrifice of their loved one. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $9.5 million to family members of Chicago Police officers in need of assistance.
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For more information about the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and its mission, please visit our website at www.cpdmemorial.org