Regional Web banner January
Hickory Hills Police Officer Michael Franks salutes Wednesday as the family of slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French is driven south on Harlem Avenue through Summit and Bridgeview. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Hickory Hills Police Officer Michael Franks salutes Wednesday as the family of slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French is driven south on Harlem Avenue through Summit and Bridgeview. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Paying respect to slain CPD Officer Ella French

By Steve Metsch

A 100 or so people paid their respects to the family of slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French on Wednesday afternoon, standing along Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview.

Residents and police officers from Bridgeview, Hickory Hills, Willow Springs and other suburbs quietly stood on the west side of the street near Niko’s Banquet Hall.

The family was driven south on Harlem by Chicago police from the Stevenson Expressway to 79th Street on their way to Officer French’s visitation Wednesday evening at St. Rita Shrine Chapel at St. Rita High School, 7740 S. Western Ave., Chicago.

Her funeral mass is set to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at the church.

French was shot to death last week during a traffic stop in Chicago Lawn.

Although the swift procession was over in moments, there were no complaints voiced about waiting on a muggy afternoon.

“It’s a shame,” said Susan Herkel, 61, of Chicago’s Clearing neighborhood, as she fought back tears. “Chicago is losing too many of their police officers.”

“I have a lot of friends who are police officers, and they are just scared for their lives,” Herkel said. “Mayor Lightfoot needs to step up and do something.”

Her mother, Marie Wurtz, 86, said, “I think it’s terrible. I feel sorry for the families.”

Willow Springs Police Chief Jim Ritz was impressed by the turnout.

Ritz noted the strong suburban connection with Officer French who, as a girl, attended Gross School in Brookfield and Riverside-Brookfield High School.

“I feel so, so sad for the city of Chicago and its police officers,” Ritz said.

Bridgeview resident Armando Martinez, 56, came “to show respect for the police officer.” He regretted forgetting his American flag at home.

“It’s bad, really bad,” he said when asked about the danger police officers face every day.

“She was a young officer, too,” he added.

Martinez’ wife, Cynthia Velasquez, 52, said, “It’s a shame what police go through … This is senseless, senseless. They didn’t have to shoot her.”

A seven-year Hickory Hills Police Officer, Michael Franks, 35, declined comment. Instead, he gave a crisp salute to the passing vehicles carrying French family members en route to St. Rita.

Several children were in the crowd.

Theo Sanchez, 32, of Bridgeview, brought his two daughters, who are in the fifth and fourth grades.

“I want them to understand the importance of family,” said Sanchez, who called French’s death “tragic.”

“I have family on the (police) force and I can’t imagine having to go through this,” Sanchez said. “For her and her family, I feel terrible.”

dvn bridgeview salutes french

Susan Herkel (right) and her mother, Marie Wurtz, are heartbroken by the murder of Chicago Police Officer Ella French.

1 Comment

  1. Debbie on August 19, 2021 at 8:35 am

    May she RIP. My heart breaks for all the people.



Local News

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

New owner will keep Palmer Place name and burgers Copy

By Steve Metsch Palmer Place Restaurant and Biergarten, a mainstay in downtown La Grange for nearly 40 years, will soon have new owners. But not much else will change. The name on 56 S. La Grange Road will still read Palmer Place. The employees now there will still have their jobs. And the hamburgers that…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF January 19, 2022

Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney and the village council could make a decision on Monday regarding video gaming. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park could be making its decision on gaming on Monday

By Jeff Vorva Will Palos Park make its decision on bringing in gaming machines to the village on Monday? The world will have to wait until Monday to find out. The village council will meet for the first time in 2022 on Monday after its Jan. 10 meeting was cancelled because of a lack of…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that mandates from Cook County are unlawful. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Pekau takes Rubin and Foxx to task over mandate punishments

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park has Cook’s County’s attention. The village’s decision to vote against enforcing Cook County COVID-19 mandates at a special meeting Dec. 28 has been a hot topic. The village’s position is that businesses need not require proof of vaccination for patrons to enter. Some businesses are taking the board up on…

CRRNH_FrontPageStory_011922

‘These bruises won’t heal’

CPS kids back in school, but bitterness remains By Tim Hadac Teachers who walked off the job in the new year returned last week after the Chicago Teachers Union rank and file voted to accept Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s offer of increased safety measures at schools. But it was a divided vote, with just 55.5% in…

CRRNH_JohnShakerAnd Burt_011922

Smooch from a pooch

Mutts of the Midway volunteer John Shaker smiles as he gets a smooch from Burt, a 5-year-old American Pit Bull/Boston Terrier mix. Shaker works as a transporter, driving dogs to and from veterinarian appointments. The 37-pound Burt was rescued by the non-profit Mutts of the Midway from a shelter in Texas. For several months, he…

The Clear-Ridge Little League is scheduled to start its games in April, but signup is occurring now. --File photo

Here’s a sure sign of spring

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Hi everyone. How have you been surviving January? This is one month I always hope flies by. If the sun is out, the temperatures are, or feel like they are in the subzero range. If it’s cloudy, which is most of the…

Justice Police Chief Kraig McDermott (from left), Justice Police and Fire Commissioner Don McGuire, Justice Police Officer Kady Sassenger, and Justice Mayor Kris Wasowicz. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Justice swears in new police officer

By Carol McGowan The Justice Village Board approved the recommendation of the Justice Fire and Police Commission to hire Police Officer Kady Sassenger at its January 10 meeting. Her move from the Coal City Police Department to Justice is considered a lateral move, which means the officer transfers from one department to another for the…

Michael Medeisis chats with village Trustee Norma Pinion after the board promoted himto the rank of fire battalion chief. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Medeisis promoted to fire battalion chief in Bridgeview

By Steve Metsch The Bridgeview Fire Department has a new battalion chief. Michael Medeisis, 55, was promoted from the rank of lieutenant at the Jan. 5 meeting of the Bridgeview Village Board. “Hey, hot diggity dog, we’ve got a great guy (promoted),” village Trustee Michael Pticek said. Trustee James Cecott said the promotion was due.…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty congratulates Steven Karasek after he was sworn in Jan. 4 as a commissioner on the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Retired village employee appointed to Lyons ZBA

By Steve Metsch The Karasek family has a long history of working for the village of Lyons dating back decades. And that history is getting a new chapter. Steven Karasek, 60, who two years ago retired after 36 years in the public works department, has been appointed by Mayor Christopher Getty to serve on the…

Neighbors

AladdinsBanquets WebAd
USALiquidators WebAd
SRP-IMAGE-Logo

New owner will keep Palmer Place name and burgers Copy

By Steve Metsch Palmer Place Restaurant and Biergarten, a mainstay in downtown La Grange for nearly 40 years, will soon have new owners. But not much else will change. The name on 56 S. La Grange Road will still read Palmer Place. The employees now there will still have their jobs. And the hamburgers that…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF January 19, 2022

Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney and the village council could make a decision on Monday regarding video gaming. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park could be making its decision on gaming on Monday

By Jeff Vorva Will Palos Park make its decision on bringing in gaming machines to the village on Monday? The world will have to wait until Monday to find out. The village council will meet for the first time in 2022 on Monday after its Jan. 10 meeting was cancelled because of a lack of…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that mandates from Cook County are unlawful. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Pekau takes Rubin and Foxx to task over mandate punishments

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park has Cook’s County’s attention. The village’s decision to vote against enforcing Cook County COVID-19 mandates at a special meeting Dec. 28 has been a hot topic. The village’s position is that businesses need not require proof of vaccination for patrons to enter. Some businesses are taking the board up on…

CRRNH_FrontPageStory_011922

‘These bruises won’t heal’

CPS kids back in school, but bitterness remains By Tim Hadac Teachers who walked off the job in the new year returned last week after the Chicago Teachers Union rank and file voted to accept Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s offer of increased safety measures at schools. But it was a divided vote, with just 55.5% in…

CRRNH_JohnShakerAnd Burt_011922

Smooch from a pooch

Mutts of the Midway volunteer John Shaker smiles as he gets a smooch from Burt, a 5-year-old American Pit Bull/Boston Terrier mix. Shaker works as a transporter, driving dogs to and from veterinarian appointments. The 37-pound Burt was rescued by the non-profit Mutts of the Midway from a shelter in Texas. For several months, he…

The Clear-Ridge Little League is scheduled to start its games in April, but signup is occurring now. --File photo

Here’s a sure sign of spring

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Hi everyone. How have you been surviving January? This is one month I always hope flies by. If the sun is out, the temperatures are, or feel like they are in the subzero range. If it’s cloudy, which is most of the…

Justice Police Chief Kraig McDermott (from left), Justice Police and Fire Commissioner Don McGuire, Justice Police Officer Kady Sassenger, and Justice Mayor Kris Wasowicz. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Justice swears in new police officer

By Carol McGowan The Justice Village Board approved the recommendation of the Justice Fire and Police Commission to hire Police Officer Kady Sassenger at its January 10 meeting. Her move from the Coal City Police Department to Justice is considered a lateral move, which means the officer transfers from one department to another for the…

Michael Medeisis chats with village Trustee Norma Pinion after the board promoted himto the rank of fire battalion chief. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Medeisis promoted to fire battalion chief in Bridgeview

By Steve Metsch The Bridgeview Fire Department has a new battalion chief. Michael Medeisis, 55, was promoted from the rank of lieutenant at the Jan. 5 meeting of the Bridgeview Village Board. “Hey, hot diggity dog, we’ve got a great guy (promoted),” village Trustee Michael Pticek said. Trustee James Cecott said the promotion was due.…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty congratulates Steven Karasek after he was sworn in Jan. 4 as a commissioner on the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Retired village employee appointed to Lyons ZBA

By Steve Metsch The Karasek family has a long history of working for the village of Lyons dating back decades. And that history is getting a new chapter. Steven Karasek, 60, who two years ago retired after 36 years in the public works department, has been appointed by Mayor Christopher Getty to serve on the…

DVN First United Realtors House Ad
Regional Bennett Auto Rebuilders House Ad