An alleged cop killer was freed on bond following a hit and run four months before the murder – despite being on probation for robbery at the time of the collision.
Emonte Morgan, 21, who police say fatally shot French during a traffic stop last Saturday, has been connected to a hit-and-run case from April in which a walker was struck in a crosswalk and sent flying against a stop sign.
According to ABC 7, Morgan didn’t stop driving until he struck a parked car nearly a mile and a half away. He was freed on a personal recognizance bond in the wake of the hit and run – despite being on probation for a 2019 robbery conviction at the time.
Morgan was still free at the time of French’s death, sparking questions about the city’s soft justice, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot is shunned by Windy City cops.
Emonte Morgan, left, was charged after he allegedly shot dead Chicago police officer Ella French, right, on Saturday. Now, it has been revealed that he was on probation for a robbery conviction at the time of the officer’s murder
The hit-and-run occurred on April 9 around 9.15pm in the 1300 block of Wells Street.
A physician who saw the incident, only identified as Diane, saw a Dodge Caravan swerving in and out of traffic, before she heard a ‘terrible sound’ and saw a man being thrown against a stop sign from the van’s windshield. The van sped off.
Diane stayed with the victim until police and paramedics arrived on scene.
‘He was in bad shape, I mean that was just terrible head trauma,’ she told the TV station. ‘I was telling him not to move because if there was any kind of spinal cord damage, I didn’t want him to make it worse.’
The victim was taken to an area hospital in serious but stable condition. No further updates on his condition were given.
Morgan allegedly kept driving until he hit a parked car in the 900 block of North Cambridge Avenue
Police say he exited the vehicle and was apprehended by a security guard. Morgan was taken into custody and later told officers he became distracted while driving because he had been arguing with his brother on the phone.
Emonte’s older brother Eric Morgan, pictured, was also charged in French’s death
Eric Morgan is pictured during the traffic stop in the body worn camera footage
Morgan was charged with driving without a license, operating an uninsured vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident. His most serious charge was a misdemeanor.
He was released the next day on a personal recognizance bond.
On May 18, the Cook County Adult Probation Department determined that Morgan’s hit-and-run arrest was a violation of his 2019 probation in the robbery case, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Diane said she learned this week that Morgan was charged with killing French and severely wounding her partner last Saturday night.
‘I was in utter disbelief and felt sadness for her family,’ Diane told ABC 7.
French, 29, was killed and a 39-year-old unnamed officer was critically wounded Saturday during a struggle after they stopped an SUV because of expired plates.
Bodycam footage shows Eric Morgan, 22, sitting in the driver’s seat as a cop looks into the car through the driver’s side window moments before his younger brother Emonte Morgan allegedly fires at the officers.
The footage shows the moments before Emonte Morgan allegedly fired at the officers
Separate surveillance footage shows police pull over the Morgan brothers, and a female passenger
The SUV was pulled over during a routine traffic stop on Saturday night
The brothers initially followed officers’ instructions, handing over the vehicle’s keys and getting out of the SUV. But the situation escalated after Emonte refused to set down a drink and cellphone he was holding, Murphy said.
‘He began physically jerking his arms away from the officers,’ Murphy said.
Footage from police body cameras shows Emonte Morgan had a handgun tucked into his waistband, Murphy said.
French is pictured before her death with her fellow officers
As he struggled with police, he began firing several shots, striking the French once in the head and a 39-year-old officer, whose name has not been released, in the right eye, right shoulder and in his brain.
Prosecutors said Emonte admitted to investigators that he pulled his handgun out of his waistband and opened fire.
Cook County Judge Arthur Willis on Tuesday ordered Emonte held without bond on charges of first-degree murder of a peace officer, attempted murder of two other officers, unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Eric Morgan also was ordered held without bond. He is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and obstruction of justice.
French was the first Chicago police officer to die from a gunshot in the line of duty in nearly three years.