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Officer Down: Officer Richard Francis

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July 02, 2008

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Officer Down: Officer Richard Francis

Officer Down: Officer Richard Francis - [Chicago, Illinois]

Age: 60

Cause of Death: Gunshot

Officer Richard Francis was shot and killed with his own service weapon while struggle with a female suspect. He had responded to a disturbance outside a police area headquarters building at Belmont Avenue and Western Avenue.

During the ensuing struggle the woman was able to gain control of his service weapon and fatally shot him. Other responding officers shot and wounded the woman when she pointed the gun at them as well.

Officer Francis had served with the Chicago Police Department for 27 years.


Chicago officer fatally shot in the line of duty

City cop killed in struggle near North Side headquarters; veteran is first to be fatally shot in line of duty since 2002

By Dan P. Blake
The Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A 27-year veteran Chicago police officer was shot and killed by a woman who grabbed his gun during a struggle outside a police headquarters on the North Side early Wednesday morning, Supt. Jody Weis said.

Officers who responded to the scene at Belmont and Western Avenues around 2 a.m., then shot the woman several times, critically wounding her, authorities said.

Belmont District Officer Richard Francis, 60, was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center and pronounced dead just before 3 a.m., the Cook County medical examiner's office said. The unidentified woman was being treated at the same hospital.

"Our focus right now is on his family. It's a tragic loss for his family. It's a terrible loss for the Chicago Police Department," Weis said in a brief statement outside the hospital. "It's a stark reminder of what the dangers this department and its officers face everyday."

Francis was on routine patrol when he responded to a street disturbance across from the Belmont Area headquarters which houses a detective division, police district and a branch courthouse. During a struggle with the woman, she grabbed his gun and shot him in the head, officials said.

"Other officers responded to the scene, the offender threatened them, they engaged that offender and they wounded her," Weis said. The superintendent took no questions, but said police were planning to provide more information during an afternoon news conference.

At the North Side hospital, a number of police officers and others gathered outside the emergency room. The officer's body was taken by Chicago Fire Department ambulance to the Stein Institute accompanied by several police vehicles. A handful of Chicago police officers outside the West Side morgue saluted the ambulance.

At the shooting scene early Wednesday, two marked squad cars were parked on the southwest corner of the intersection of Belmont, Western and Clybourn Avenues, while an unmarked maroon police vehicle remained in the intersection with at least one door open. Also, an empty CTA bus was parked near the squad cars.

About ten yellow tags used to mark bullet rounds were near the cars.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said investigators will be inspecting the camera on the CTA bus to see if it captured what led up to the fatal shooting.

Francis was the first Chicago police officer to be shot and killed while on duty since Jefferson Park Officer Donald Marquez in March 2002, who was fatally shot while attempting to serve a warrant on a 77-year-old man. Officers then killed his assailant.

In February 2007, Officer Jose Vazquez, who was off duty, was fatally shot in the gated parking area of his West Side condominium after arriving home from a second job in the early morning hours. Police said he likely was the victim of an armed robbery.

Copyright 2008 The Chicago Tribune

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