Fundraiser held for families of fallen Chicago police officers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Wednesday evening fundraiser on the city's Near North Side directly benefited the families of three Chicago police officers who were recently killed in the line of duty.

The independently organized fundraiser was held at Joe's on Weed with live music by The PriSSillas. The tables were lined with all kinds of goods to bid on, including jerseys from some of the city's star athletes.

"We want to send a message to these families that we will always be there for them, that's what it's all about. We will be here year after year after year to help them and care for them," said Joe O'Neil, fundraiser organizer.

"We take care of our own and we have to be there to support each other in our greatest time of need," said John Lorenz, CPD alternate response.

Officers Samuel Jimenez, Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo all died in uniform days before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"We thought it was important to hit this right away when fresh in people's minds," O'Neil said.

The fundraiser was to benefit the three wives and seven young children suddenly left without husbands and fathers. Every dollar raised will be passed on to the three families.

"They're young kids and they don't know any different, so I just want them to know that their community is behind them," said Corinne Vittori, attendee.

"If this is a way we can show the Jimenez family, Gary family, Marmolejo family you're never alone... It doesn't bring them back, but it does show them they're never alone," said Sergeant Melissa Malm, CPD 6th District.

Their deaths marked the end of a particularly horrific year for the Chicago Police Department.

"I think we take 2019 and take a step forward and hope we never experience this again," Sgt. Malm said.

So they're starting a new year on a high note.

"We're hoping to rock everybody, help them relax a little while making money for the families," said Jenny Christoforakis.

Christoforakis is not just a member of The PriSSilas, she's also a Chicago police lieutenant with the forensic services division. The performance is personal for her.

"It's for my family too," she said. "They are my family."

All of the money raised Wednesday night will be divided evenly between the three families.
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