2 brothers charged in fatal shooting of Chicago officer

CHICAGO (AP) — Two Chicago brothers have been charged in a weekend shooting during a traffic stop that left one police officer dead and another seriously wounded, the Chicago Police Department announced in a Monday press release.

Emonte Morgan, 21, is charged with first-degree murder in Saturday’s fatal shooting of 29-year-old officer Ella French, as well as attempted murder and other charges. Eric Morgan, 22, faces charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and obstruction of justice.

They and a woman were in a vehicle stopped by police on Chicago’s South Side Saturday night when gunfire erupted. The one-page release offered no details about why the vehicle was stopped or what unfolded before the shooting started.

Officers had stopped a vehicle Saturday with two men and a woman inside just after 9 p.m., when a male passenger opened fire, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said Sunday. Officers returned fire, striking the passenger who appeared to fire at them, Brown said.

The brothers are scheduled to appear in a Cook County bond court on Tuesday.

Earlier Monday, federal prosecutors charged an Indiana man with purchasing and then illegally supplying the semi-automatic handgun used in the shooting, the first in which an officer died from a gunshot in the line of duty in nearly three years.

Jamel Danzy, 29, is accused of buying the weapon from a licensed gun dealer in Hammond, Indiana, in March and then providing it to an Illinois resident who Danzy knew could neither buy nor possess guns because of a felony conviction.

The person who received it was in a vehicle from which someone shot the officers Saturday night during a traffic stop and that the same gun was recovered from the person by arresting officers, said a statement from Chicago’s U.S. attorney’s office, which did not identify the person by name.

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. The Chicago Police Department’s Facebook page said Sunday that French’s wounded partner remained in “hospital fighting for his life.”

Danzy, of Hammond, made an initial appearance Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Chicago on conspiracy to violate federal firearm laws, including knowingly transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident and knowingly disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon. The conspiracy conviction carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert ordered Danzy be held at least until a Wednesday detention hearing.

Chicago has for years sought to stem the inflow of guns that has helped fueled persistently high homicide rates in the city, especially from nearby states like Indiana, where guns rules aren’t as stringent.

The U.S. attorney’s office highlighted how the the Department of Justice has made stemming illegal gun trafficking a high priority.

“Straw purchasers and firearm traffickers enable violence with deadly consequences,” U.S. Attorney John Lausch said in a statement.