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Slain Chicago cop Ella French’s adoptive mother says her daughter ‘wanted to make a difference’

When Chicago officer Ella French was shot and killed two week ago, her adoptive mother, Elizabeth French, received a call from one of Ella’s best friends who was also a cop.

‘The first words out of her mouth were, ‘Ella has been shot, and she’s in critical condition,’ Elizabeth French told Chicago Sun Times. ‘I don’t know if I have words for that, how I felt inside. I don’t know if I have words for this feeling.’   

Now the mother grieves the loss of her beloved daughter, 29, who was shot dead and her partner seriously wounded during an armed confrontation with three suspects on the city’s South Side on Aug. 7. 

‘I wake up every morning, and I start crying because my day doesn’t have my daughter anymore. The few times I’ve turned on the TV, it distresses me to see her picture and her name with the word ‘killed.’ It’s just so hard.’ 

Ella’s wake was set for Wednesday evening, with the funeral scheduled for Thursday. 

‘No parent should ever bury their child,’ Elizabeth said fighting through tears. ‘But my daughter wanted to make a difference. She believed in her job. It breaks my heart, but she died doing what she was called to do. And now she’s in God’s hands.

The body of slain Chicago officer Ella French was carried into St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, in Chicago, on Wednesday for her wake

Ella French, 29, was shot and killed at 9pm on Aug. 7 in Chicago, during a traffic stop

Ella French, 29, was shot and killed at 9pm on Aug. 7 in Chicago, during a traffic stop

Chicago officers saluted the colors as they gathered to attend the wake

Chicago officers saluted the colors as they gathered to attend the wake

French’s death was the first fatal shooting of a Chicago officer in the line of duty since 2018 and the first female officer fatally shot on the job in 33 years. 

Elizabeth said she wanted Ella to be remembered as more than a slain officer, so she shared her stories about raising her daughter. 

Elizabeth remembered wishing she could always be with Ella when the two first met at a foster home when Ella was 8 months old. 

Elizabeth described Ella as a bubbly child who loved characters that bounced around like her, like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. 

She said Ella’s constant bouncing ended up with her breaking some bones three times before she even started kindergarten. 

Growing up, Ella has served as an altar server for their Catholic parish, competed in softball and basketball in middle school and played the flute.  

Noticing that her active daughter could use some structure, Elizabeth enrolled her at Wentworth Military Academy and College in Lexington, Missouri. 

After spending two-years at the now-closed school, Elizabeth learned that her daughter wanted to be a cop. 

Ella graduated Downers Grove North High School in 2009 then worked at a nutrition store and cellphone store to try save money as she prepared herself to follow a career in law enforcement, Elizabeth said. 

In 2017, Ella was able to land a job as a Cook County sheriff’s correctional officer. Elizabeth said Ella’s experiences as a correctional officer were formative.   

‘I think it deepened her empathy. Whatever it was that they did to end up in jail, she saw them first and foremost as people who deserved respect. Ella could put herself in other people’s places, and maybe she felt that way because she thought her life could’ve been different if it weren’t for being adopted.’

Ella moved on to the Chicago Police Department in 2018, working in the 10th District on the West Side before joining the department’s Community Safety Team, which worked to strengthen the ties between the city’s South Side and West Side. 

‘Man, she was just a great officer and someone willing to actually sit and talk and get to know people in the community,’ said Charles McKenzie, of Englewood First Responders, who worked with the Community Safety Team. 

Elizabeth recalled the night Ella was shot as she received a call from one of Ella’s best friends who was also an officer. 

Despite the turmoil of losing her daughter, Elizabeth said she is thankful for the love and support she has received from Chicago officers and from strangers around the country. 

‘I need to thank them from the bottom of my heart because every single word, every single message, every single text, every single hug, every single whatever it is means more than they will ever, ever know,’ she said. ‘I want them to know that my family is so grateful.’ 

The brother of deceased Chicago cop Ella French spoke out about his sister

French was killed during a shootout on Aug. 7 night in the South Side

Iraq War veteran Andrew French spoke about his sister Ella, who was killed during a shootout on the city’s South Side on Aug. 7

French was the first female cop to be called on duty in Chicago since 1988 where Irma Ruiz was shot and killed outside of an elementary school

French was the first female cop to be called on duty in Chicago since 1988 where Irma Ruiz was shot and killed outside of an elementary school

Last week, Elizabeth’s adopted son, Andrew French, also shared words about his late sister with The Chicago Tribune

‘She was the epitome of a good Samaritan. And she was the best sister. It didn’t matter what I was going through or how hard things were hitting me, she was always there,’ Andrew, an Iraq War veteran, said. 

‘She’s always done the right thing even when nobody’s looking. She’s always believed in people and believed in doing the right thing. She’s always believed in taking care of people that can’t take care of themselves.’ 

French is survived by a 2-month-old daughter. She was one of 10 people killed and 64 wounded by gun violence throughout Chicago that weekend. 

‘We will never forget the true bravery she exemplified as she laid her life down to protect others,’ the department said of French on Facebook, adding that fellow officers will ‘grieve the loss of this hero.’

The department also requested support for French’s wounded partner, Carlos Yanez, 39, who faces a ‘potentially lifelong disability’ from the shootout. 

He sustained three gunshot wounds: One went through his eye, one lodged in the back of the head and one struck his shoulder.

Officers Carlos Yanez is seen paralyzed in a hospital bed after he was shot during a traffic stop

Officers Carlos Yanez is seen paralyzed in a hospital bed after he was shot during a traffic stop 

Yanez's family set up a GoFundMe page as the officer faces a 'potentially lifelong disability'

Yanez’s family set up a GoFundMe page as the officer faces a ‘potentially lifelong disability’

Emonte Morgan, 21, and his brother Eric, 22, were arrested and charged for French’s death, but an ABC 7 report found that Emonte was actually supposed to be behind bars that day.

Emonte was charged with first-degree murder of a police officer, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

His brother was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice.

Emonte 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.

Eric Morgan, 22, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice

Emonte 'Monty' Morgan, 21, is charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon

The Morgan brothers were said to have been driving with expired license plates, prompting police to pull them over


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