The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation honors Chicago Police Lieutenant Jacob Alderden, Officer Elvis Turcinovic and Officer Bernardo Quijano as representation of the scores of Officers who acted heroically during the Mercy Hospital Tragedy that took the lives of three outstanding Chicagoans on November 19, 2018.
The tragedy started as a domestic incident, an assignment police officers handle often. Most end peacefully after some negotiations and wisdom from the Officers involved; however, this was not the case and before the day was over, Chicago lost Dr. Tamara O'Neal, pharmaceutical resident Dayna Less and Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez. The call came through as a shooter at Mercy Hospital and the Chicago Police responded. These Officers drove and ran into danger because that is what they do; they answer the call for help. That sad afternoon scores of officers responded, and we can’t possibly honor each and every one of them, therefore we are honoring three officers, as a representation of all that were there that afternoon.
When Lieutenant Alderden arrived he immediately ran into the hospital and with Officer Samuel Jimenez at his side they located the suspected shooter who they pursued even deeper into the hospital. The SWAT unit responded and Officer Turcinovic worked in tandem with the two officers to pursue the shooter.
Prior to this, the shooter had already shot Dr. Tamara O’Neal in the parking lot, then had returned inside and shot resident Danya Less. Numerous Officers continued to arrive at the hospital and saw the doctor down on the ground, risking their own lives, the Officers moved their vehicles to shield the injured Doctor; however she was still in harm’s way. Officer Bernarndo Quijano, along with a few other officers, ran to her and attempted to pull her behind the cars to safety. As they did this, the assailant shot at the officers and Officer Bernardo Quijano was hit by gunfire. Luckily, the bullet went through his holster and lodged in his gun. The officers had briefly taken cover, but they returned and moved the wounded doctor out of additional directed gunfire from the assailant.
Inside the hospital, Officers Jimenez, Turcinovic and Lieutenant Alderden pursued the assailant losing sight of him briefly as he went around another corner at the end of a long hallway. The three officers all ran toward where they had last seen the active shooter at which time the offender reappeared from the corner firing several rounds striking Officer Jimenez in the neck. Other Officers worked to render aide to Officer Jimenez while Officer Elvis Turinovic took action and shot the assailant. The gunman was wounded but used his own gun to end his life, shooting himself fatally. While the immediate threat seemed to be eliminated, the police continued on, searching every part of the hospital to make sure there was not another shooter.
The courageous acts of these three officers represent just a fraction of the good work that was done by scores of officers that afternoon. Collectively they rendered aide to victims, acted as a shield for victims, put themselves in harm’s way to protect others and showed compassion and bravery in one of the most horrific days of their entire career. It was a sad, tragic day for the city, the department and our country, but it was a day that showed the world that the Chicago Police will always be there, through good or bad times, and even while experiencing the worst day any officer can imagine. Every one of those officers both inside and outside the hospital acted with courage and bravery and wore their badges proudly. Without question had it not been for the immediate response of all of the officers, the offender who was armed with multiple magazines could have taken more lives.
Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez who selflessly gave his life that day at Mercy Hospital will be honored later this year, when we add his name to the wall at Gold Star Families Memorial & Park as well as at the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Valor Award Dinner in October.
This morning, while we present the Officer of the Month to these three men, we realize it is not a single effort of any one person, but a tribute to everyone who responded that cold November afternoon and answered the call. As representatives of all Chicago Police Officers on at Mercy Hospital on November 19th, we present the award to Lieutenant Jacob Alderden, Officer Elvis Turcinovic and Officer Bernardo Quijano.
We are proud to make them our March Officers of the Month presented by Galls.