Con­rad Gary, one of two Chicago of­fi­cers fa­tally struck by a train, is re­mem­bered for al­ways putting oth­ers ahead of him­self

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rose­mary Sobol, Katie Galioto and Elvia Malagon

“You could count on Con­rad for any­thing.”

— The Rev. Dan Brandt, a Chicago po­lice chap­lain, dur­ing the fu­ner­alMass for Of­fi­cer Con­rad Gary

When Chicago po­lice Of­fi­cer Con­rad Gary’s friend left to serve in the U.S. mil­i­tary, he took it upon him­self to make trips to his friend’s home to make sure the fam­i­ly­was fine.

Oth­ers in Gary’s life, from fam­ily to other po­lice of­fi­cers, had sim­i­lar sto­ries to share in the days af­ter he and Of­fi­cer Ed­uardo Mar­molejo were fa­tally struck by a train while search­ing for a sus­pect, said the Rev. Dan Brandt, a Chicago po­lice chap­lain. A crowd of more than 1,000po­lice of­fi­cers, fam­ily mem­bers, friends and dig­ni­taries lis­tened to Brandt on Fri­day morn­ing in St. Rita of Cas­cia Shrine Chapel on the city’s South­west Side.

“He­was that kind of per­son, al­ways putting oth­ers be­fore him­self,” Brandt said at the funeral Mass for Gary. “I was told you could count on Con­rad for any­thing.”

As the sun rose Fri­day, po­lice of­fi­cers in their dress uni­forms con­verged on the chapel to mourn Gary. Work­ers

at a nearby car deal­er­ship tied white and blue bal­loons to car side mir­rors to honor the of­fi­cers. School­child­ren and teach­ers lined a por­tion of the pro­ces­sion, many of them hold­ing their hands over their

hearts. The side­walks lead­ing to the church­were lined with of­fi­cers and bag­pipers.

It­was a fa­mil­iar scene to a depart­ment that al­ready had mourned the loss of two other of­fi­cers this year. On Nov. 19, Of­fi­cer Sa­muel Jimenez, 28, was killed in a mul­ti­ple shoot­ing at Mercy Hospi­tal & Med­i­cal Cen­ter. OnFeb. 13, Cmdr. Paul Bauer, 53, was fa­tally shot while chas­ing a sus­pect out­side the Thomp­son Cen­ter.

Gary, 31, and Mar­molejo, 36, were killed Mon­day night by a South Shore com­muter train as they pur­sued a sus­pect onto the tracks af­ter a shots-fired call near 103rd Street and Dauphin Av­enue. Ed­ward Brown, 24, ap­peared in court Thurs­day on firearms-re­lated charges.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said dur­ing Fri­day’s ser­vice that their deaths added to an al­ready dif­fi­cult year for the city’s po­lice.

“They have brought tears to our eyes, sor­rowto our souls and hurt to our hearts,” Emanuel said. “And as solemn as it is writ­ten, God heals the bro­ken­hearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name.”

Gary joined the Po­lice Depart­ment in March 2017. He was as­signed to the Calumet District af­ter he had com­pleted his train­ing there. The district was sup­posed to have its holiday party Fri­day, but its of­fi­cers in­stead spent the day mourn­ing their two fallen col­leagues.

Gary grew up in sub­ur­ban Oak Lawn, grad­u­ated from Eastern Illi­nois Uni­ver­sity in 2009 and had spent more than five years in the Air Force, much of that time de­ployed in Ger­many. He and his wife, Kelly, were just start­ing a fam­ily and have a 6month-old daugh­ter, Tess.

Of­fi­cer Jef­frey Curia, a field train­ing of­fi­cer, said af­ter theMass that he saw prom­ise and strides to­ward great­ness while train­ing Gary. The two were able to ap­pre­hend a sus­pect in a bur­glary.

“He showed he wanted to make the city a bet­ter place,” Curia said. “I be­lieved in him. I be­lieved he would be an im­por­tant part of the Po­lice Depart­ment.”

Curia’s as­sess­ment echoed re­marks made by Brandt dur­ing the Mass. Gary al­ready was be­com­ing known as an of­fi­cer in the Calumet District who was quick to pro­vide backup to other cops. At the Chicago po­lice academy, Gary was a “go-to” per­son who helped class­mates, Brandt said.

Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Ed­die John­son de­scribed Gary as hav­ing a sense of duty that com­pelled him to help oth­ers.

In his re­marks, John­son de­tailed the last mo­ments of Gary’s life. Gary and Mar­molejo climbed a steep em­bank­ment as they searched for ev­i­dence and for a sus­pect in the shots­fired call.

“They were de­ter­mined to get an il­le­gal­weapon off the streets of Chicago,” the su­per­in­ten­dent said. “That’s what po­lice do. Their only con­cern was get­ting the gun off the streets.”

John­son said it­was rare to hear Gary curse and that he fre­quently treated his part­ner to cof­fee. But Gary’s wife told John­son it wasn’t be­cause he was a big spen­der but be­causehe had a year’s worth of cof­fee coupons, John­son joked.

“That’showhe­was buy­ing all that cof­fee,” the su­per­in­ten­dent said.

It was one the few lighter mo­ments of a solemn cer­e­mony dur­ing which of­fi­cers were seen giv­ing hugs to one an­other dur­ing Com­mu­nion.

Car­di­nal Blase Cupich con­cel­e­brated the Mass and of­fered con­do­lences to po­lice of­fi­cers. He en­cour­aged the crowd to re­flect on the im­por­tance Gary placed on re­la­tion­ships, point­ing out how pho­tos shared so fre­quently showed him with some­one rather than alone.

“We need to be present to one an­other in this city,” Cupich said. “To make sure that no one feels alone, par­tic­u­larly in the depth of their sor­row, their pain and their loss.”

The win­ter sol­stice, with the long­est night of the year, co­in­cides with the night be­tween the funerals for Of­fi­cers Gary and Mar­molejo, Cupich said. But he pointed out that the sun al­ways slowly re­turns, and Cupich of­fered Gary’s baby daugh­ter, Tess, as a sign of hope. He told the crowd to look for signs of Gary in his daugh­ter in the years ahead.

“The way that she will smile and­walk but also the way in which gen­eros­ity will spon­ta­neously and al­most nat­u­rally spring in her heart,” Cupich said. “For they will be a re­minder that he lives on in her, but also as peo­ple of faith that he lives on as he stands be­fore the Lord to­day, the risen Lord who gives him life, and that same Lord wel­comes him into a day in which the sun will never set.”

Af­ter the funeral, Tess was cov­ered in a light pink and blue blan­ket. An of­fi­cer cra­dled her out­side St. Rita as of­fi­cers pre­sented Gary’s wife with two flags.

Many of­fi­cers from other de­part­ments, in­clud­ing Illi­nois State Po­lice Di­rec­tor Leo Sch­mitz, and re­tired Chicago of­fi­cers at­tended the funeral.

Pat Lear­na­han was a Chicago of­fi­cer for two decades and said he at­tended be­cause he wanted to pay his re­spects.

“Four killed this year; it’s hor­ri­ble,” he said. “I’ll domy best to be at all these tri­als.”


Pall­bear­ers carry the cas­ket of Chicago po­lice Of­fi­cer Con­rad Gary out of St. Rita of Cas­cia Shrine Chapel in Chicago af­ter his funeral Fri­day.


Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment’s Keny­atta Gaines sings “Amaz­ing Grace” dur­ing Fri­day’s funeral ser­vice.

Con­rad Gary, 31, joined the Po­lice Depart­ment in March 2017. He and his wife, Kelly, have a young daugh­ter.


Chicago po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Ed­die John­son, from left, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner pay re­spects Fri­day at the funeral of Chicago po­lice Of­fi­cer Con­rad Gary.


Chicago po­lice of­fi­cers salute as Gary’s re­mains ar­rive for his funeral at St. Rita of Cas­cia Shrine Chapel in Chicago on Fri­day.

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