Three men have been charged in connection with a weekend shooting that killed a Chicago police officer, including one who federal officials accused of buying a weapon in a straw purchase in another state.
Officer Ella French, 29, died as a result of Saturday’s shooting, according to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. The other officer, who’s been with the department for six years, is in critical condition as of Sunday, Brown said.
Emonte Morgan, 21, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon with a prior conviction and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, according to a news release from the department. Eric Morgan, 22, has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon with a prior conviction and obstruction of justice, the release said. Brown said a woman who was also in the car was not charged.
The Department of Justice has charged Jamel Danzy, 29, of Indiana, with conducting a straw purchase to obtain the semi-automatic handgun used in Saturday’s shooting, according to a news release from the department. Danzy bought the gun in Hammond, Indiana, from a federal firearms dealer in March and is accused of “knowingly making a false written statement to acquire a firearm,” according to the criminal complaint filed in the US District Court in Chicago.
The federal complaint alleges Danzy bought the gun at the request of someone who lives in Chicago and whom Danzy knew wasn’t legally allowed to buy a firearm due to a felony criminal conviction.
He’s now facing charges of conspiracy to violate federal firearm laws, including knowingly transferring and giving a firearm to an out-of-state resident, knowingly making a false written statement to acquire a firearm, and knowingly disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon, according to the criminal complaint. If convicted, Danzy faces up to five years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge, the news release said.
Danzy made an initial court appearance Monday in Chicago. He is currently in federal custody and is scheduled for a detention hearing Wednesday afternoon, DOJ notes. It is unclear whether Danzy has legal representation.
US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin released a statement Monday saying the alleged straw purchase was “infuriating.”
“We have lost one of Chicago’s best to this disgusting enterprise,” his statement read.
News of the suspects’ arrest come as Chicago, like other American cities, grapples with rising violence. An August 3 report from Chicago police showed shooting incidents are up in the city, with 2,012 reported incidents this year – an 11% increase compared to the same point in 2020, and a 63% increase compared to this point in 2019. Murder is on par with this time last year, the data shows, but it’s up 54% compared to the same point in 2019.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot paid a visit to the hospital where the critically injured officer is being held, but she was met with about 30 officers turning their backs on her, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Monday.
“The Mayor was present at the emergency room to offer support and condolences to the families involved and the hundreds of line officers and exempts who were there, which she did,” a spokesperson for Lightfoot’s office said in a statement. “In a time of tragedy, emotions run high and that is to be expected. The Mayor spoke to a range of officers that tragic night and sensed the overwhelming sentiment was about concern for their fallen colleagues.”
This is not the time for “divisive and toxic rhetoric or reporting,” the statement read.
“This is a time for us to come together as a city. We have a common enemy and it is the conditions that breed the violence and the manifestations of violence, namely illegal guns, and gangs,” the statement read. “The Mayor is focused on healing the wounds and will reject any and all that try to use this moment to drive further divisions in our city.”
CNN’s Alta Spells and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.