Fallen Chicago Police Officer Ella French laid to rest after being killed in line of duty

French's funeral held at St. Rita church Thursday
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands gathered to mourn fallen Chicago Police Officer Ella French Thursday morning at her funeral Mass.

Mourners gather at funeral for Officer French



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Thousands gather at St. Rita of Cascia Chapel for the funeral of Chicago Police Officer Ella French.



Just three years into her police career, French was killed and her partner was critically injured during a traffic stop earlier this month. Her casket made its way to the Wrightwood neighborhood Wednesday and Thursday, where it was greeted by her fellow officers at St. Rita of Cascia Church.

Cardinal Blase Cupich presided over her funeral Mass, speaking to the dangers police officers face on a daily basis during his homily.

WATCH: Cardinal Blase Cupich delivers homily at fallen Officer French funeral


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Cardinal Blase Cupich delivered the homily at fallen Officer Ella French's funeral.



French's mother, Elizabeth, gave a eulogy, remembering her daughter in her childhood and as a young woman.

"I have two children, Ella and Andrew. They are my heart. Today I am here with half my heart," she said.

Slowly and compassionately, Elizabeth spoke so proudly of her daughter, Ella - the daughter who she said chose her as an infant.

"Please know that adopting you were one of the best things I ever did in my life. I love you with all my heart," she said.

By Elizabeth's side was the father of French's partner, Carlos Yanez Jr., who was critically hurt in the shooting.

Yanez Sr. offered his condolences during the funeral Mass, saying his son wanted him to be there.

"I do get sad at first that she's gone, because I do miss her, and I will always miss her," said Chicago Police Officer Joshua Blas.

One of the memories he won't be able to shake is the night French died on the job.

Blas was the only uninjured officer the night of the deadly shooting.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot both spoke after the funeral.

"We'll continue to be courageous, brave, committed and dedicated for Ella to protecting the city of Chicago," Superintendent Brown said.

"This is a time of grief and anger and frustration, but I hope that we use this as an opportunity of reflection on how we can live, each of us, a better life, from where we stand to show leadership and support for those in our city who are most vulnerable," Mayor Lightfoot said. "We need to continue to thank our brave men and women in law enforcement, our police department, fire department, the brave dispatchers and call takers at the Office of Emergency Management Communications, we need to thank them for their service. We will always owe them a debt of gratitude."

Officer Ella French funeral procession arrives for visitation


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The casket carrying fallen Chicago Police Officer Ella French arrives at St. Rita of Cascia ahead of a visitation Wednesday.



Chicago Fire Department officials provided a cooling bus for the massive crowd of police officers gathered in the hot weather Thursday, as some became faint.

Five people were transported from the funeral, including two state troopers, CPD officers and a 16-year-old girl, CFD spokesman Larry Langford said.

On Wednesday, a line of mourners thousands deep wrapped around the perimeter of the South Side chapel.



Gov. JB Pritzker, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, and city politicians came to personally thank the French family. Though her time on the police force was short, French worked in some of Chicago's most violent South Side neighborhoods.

People there already miss her.

"We loved her in our community, and I hope that justice is served," Englewood resident Lori Kilgore said. "I could just feel the love and compassion and to be able to shake hands with the mom and the brother did a lot for me today."

RELATED: Wounded Chicago police officer speaks from hospital as he struggles with losing partner Ella French
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CPD Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. speaks from the hospital as he continues to recover from a fatal shooting that took the life of his partner Ella French



"It's sort of sad the only time we get to see some of our coworkers from other districts, other units or even from the academy, is in situations like this," said Officer Maria Guzman, who works in CPD's traffic unit.

"Traffic is the most dangerous thing being a police officer, and for that to happen to one of our own, and one of the young ones, it was extremely hurtful," added Officer Ronda Pressley, who also works in the traffic unit.

Law enforcers pay tribute to Officer French
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Chicago police Officer Ella French's casket was greeted by hundreds of her fellow officers attending the visitation at St. Rita of Cascia.



French was killed and her partner, Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., was critically injured in a shooting while conducting a traffic stop in West Englewood earlier this month. Two brothers have been charged in the shooting.


In her short time on the force, French earned commendations and honorable mentions.

"I know these are hard times for the city, and we just wanted to show respect from Passaic, New Jersey," Officer Miguel Garcia said.

RELATED: Police, supporters from around the country attend officer's funeral

"It's sort of sad the only time we get to see some of our coworkers from other districts, other units or even from the academy, is in situations like this," said Officer Maria Guzman, who works in CPD's traffic unit.

"Traffic is the most dangerous thing being a police officer, and for that to happen to one of our own, and one of the young ones, it was extremely hurtful," added Officer Ronda Pressley, who also works in the traffic unit.

Retired CPD officer Stephanie Jordan offered her condolences to French's family, too.

"Somber, people just trying to hold their composure for the family, show their respect," Jordan said, adding that she was the same age as the fallen 29-year-old when she joined the department.

RELATED: Surveillance video shows traffic stop before fatal shooting of CPD Officer Ella French; 2 charged

Many had never met the 29-year-old, but still feel the impact of her loss, like Detective Joe Bowes, a 26-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. He came early to see the casket arrive at the church and made sure he brought his children.

"They hear about the bad things every once in a while happen with one of us, but every day, there are people like Officer French out there sacrificing and doing good for these communities that are in a lot of trouble," Bowes said.

SEE MORE: Chicago police officer Ella French funeral plans announced, another vigil held

Emonte Morgan, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. His brother Eric Morgan, 22, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice.

Police say Emonte Morgan both killed French and shot her partner three times during the Aug. 7 Englewood traffic stop. His brother, Eric Morgan, police said, was driving the car the officers had pulled over for expired tags.
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The I-Team acquired a still frame of police bodycam from the night of the fatal shooting, that shows the moment before a firefight began.



Emonte, also known as "Monte," and Eric Morgan were both ordered held without bond. Emonte did not appear in court; he is hospitalized at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn after police shot him after the shootings of French and her partner.

RELATED: Surveillance video shows traffic stop before fatal shooting of CPD Officer Ella French; 2 charged

French joined the Chicago Police Department in 2018 after previously working with the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

She is the first female Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty since 1988. This is also the first time a CPD officer has died in the line of duty since Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office.

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Family remains at the bedside of an officer wounded in a shooting that claimed the life of his partner.



The police community will now help French's family through the depths of grief, and for that, Elizabeth offered the comforting words of a mother.

"I close with the words I always told Ella: 'Be careful and be safe,'" she said.

French is survived by her mother and brother.

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