Chicago police officer killed in line of duty

September 29, 2008 3:34:05 PM PDT
Family and friends are in mourning over the death of Officer Nathaniel Taylor. The Chicago policeman was killed over the weekend on the city's Southwest Side.Taylor is the third Chicago policeman killed since July. Taylor was shot while on duty as he and his colleagues were about to search a drug suspect's home. The 39-year officer joined the department in 1994. Throughout his career he received over 50 awards.

For the third time in three months, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weiss made the difficult visit to the home of a fallen police officer. Nathaniel Taylor was gunned down early Sunday morning while he and other officers were about to execute a search warrant.

"You wish it never happens. Unfortunately, in law enforcement and police work these things happen and you're dealing with people that have no sense of respect for life," said Weis.

Police say Lamar Cooper is responsible for the shooting. The 37-year-old convicted felon was parked outside of his South Side home on the 7900-block of South Clyde Avenue when, police say, he opened fire on the officers. Taylor was hit three times. Police fired back, striking Cooper.

Taylor was pronounced dead almost 12 hours after the shooting.

Monday, friends and family gathered at the officer's Southwest Side home, including his best friend, Officer Michael Gant. He called Taylor "Nate."

"Nate dropped by my house maybe three or four days out of the week just to see what's going on. Like I said -- a true friend," said Gant.

Taylor was a 14-year veteran of the police department. He worked in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods. For the past four years, he was assigned to the gang intelligence unit.

Neighbors say Taylor's reputation as a neighbor was as good as his outstanding reputation as an officer.

"He would give you the shirt off his back. The Chicago police department lost one of the best guys they probably ever had. Especially the unit he was on, very special unit. He loved his job. He did his job to the best of his ability. I'm going to miss him. Ex-marine, good guy. I salute him," said Lynden Williams, neighbor.

Taylor is survived by his wife and their 5-year-old daughter.

The suspect in this case remains in Stroger Hospital in stable condition. So far, there are no formal charges against Lamar Cooper.

The shooting surprises people who know Cooper. His neighbors say Cooper told them he was trying to organize a block club on street to prevent crime.


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