CHICAGO (KKTV) - Two young officers were struck by a train and killed Monday night while searching for an armed suspect.
"By doing the most dangerous thing any police officer can do – that is to chase an individual with a gun – these brave young men were consumed with identifying a potential threat to their community and put the safety of others above their own," said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
So consumed, they didn't realize a commuter train was barreling towards them at more than 60 mph.
"You heard the train screech, like come to a screeching halt," witness Greg Brewer told CBS Chicago.
The officers were identified as 37-year-old Eduardo Marmolejo and 31-year-old Conrad Gary. Both were fairly new to the force, having only been with the Chicago Police Department two and a half years and 18 months respectively. Marmolejo was married with three young children and Gary was married with an infant.
“We’ve lost two young men, both fathers,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “This holiday will never be the same. Those two families, all our hearts are with them.”
Johnson said the officers were killed almost immediately upon impact. It's still unclear exactly how the officers ended up on the tracks to begin with, though Brewer said he saw the chase weave its way towards the train station just prior to the deadly collision.
“We saw, like, this police officer chasing a guy through this gangway, running down on 111th. And then he went from 111th down to the train station."
A weapon was recovered and a person of interest was questioned Monday night, CBS Chicago reported. There's been no further update on any arrests.
The fallen officers were escorted to the medical examiner's office in a 15-mile procession involving hundreds of officers.
The officers are the third and fourth to die in the line of duty this year.
“It has been an immensely difficult year for the Chicago Police Department, especially for the men and women of the 5th District," Johnson said. "They have faced tragedy after tragedy this year. I’m asking all of you, Chicago, to pray for the families of these two heroic young men and please say a prayer for the men and women of the 5th District, who even tonight will still stop at nothing to safeguard their community.”