SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Three officers and one commander were all killed in the line of duty in Chicago last year, their service, their courage and their sacrifice, and their families were honored Thursday in Springfield.
"This past year in Chicago we suffered insurmountable grief and sadness as we laid to rest four officers who lost their lives fighting gun violence," said Chicago Police First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio.
Officers from across the state paid tribute to four of their brothers in blue from Chicago who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"They will forever be remembered as the ultimate example of love," said Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.
Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed in the Loop while pursuing a suspect on foot.
"He was a caring husband and a proud father." Riccio said. "He was a dedicated police officer."
Officer Samuel Jimenez was killed while responding to an active shooter at Mercy Hospital.
"He ran toward gunshots, not away," said Illinois Comptroller Juliana Stratton.
Officers Eduardo Marmolejo and Conrad Gary were killed while responding to shots fired near train tracks on the South Side.
"All of these men are heroes. When there's danger, people run away from the threat," Riccio said. "These men run toward it."
Their families were also honored at the Illinois State Library.
Each was enveloped in the open, loving arms of law enforcement officers and other surviving family members, the names of their loved ones commemorated in wreaths and etched forever onto the Illinois Police Memorial.
"It's just unbelievable to know that I have a huge extended family," said Crystal Jimenez, Officer Samuel Jimenez widow. "It means support and love."
Officer Samuel Jimenez' widow, Crystal and her 9-year-old son Julian are realizing the new family they now have as they support one another.
"We want our father back, but we're still honoring him because we can't take it back," Julian Jimenez said.
Family members of the fallen will travel to Washington DC for National Ceremonies next week. A hero's farewell for the men who died serving and protecting the City of Chicago.
Chicago Police Department fallen officers honored in statewide memorial service
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