A train struck and killed two Chicago police officers Monday evening as they were pursuing a suspect on the city's far South Side.
Speaking at a press conference, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said officers Conrad Gary, 31, and Eduardo Marmolejo, 37, were investigating a report of shots fired and had followed the suspect onto the tracks. The officers were hit by a Metra commuter train shortly after 6 p.m. CST.
Johnson said both officers killed were newly appointed. Gary had served one and a half years on the job, and Marmolejo two and a half years.
"By doing the most dangerous thing any police officer can do, and that is to chase an individual with a gun, these brave young men were consumed with identifying a potential threat to the community and put the safety of others above their own," said Johnson.
The two men were struck by an outbound South Shore train near 103rd Street and Dauphin Avenue, reports the Chicago Tribune. The train was likely going about 60 to 70 mph, according to Johnson. All traffic was shut down on the Metra Electric District tracks while authorities investigated, according to the Tribune.
One passenger on the train, Brianna Medina, told the Tribune that the train stopped unexpectedly and "sounded like it was hitting rocks."
Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi wrote on Twitter that a weapon had been recovered and police were questioning a person of interest.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was also at the press conference, said both men were fathers with "young families." He told reporters he was at a loss for words.
"This holiday will never be the same for those two families," said Emanuel. "And while our hearts are with them, we lost people who answered the call to make Chicago a better place."
Johnson said this year has been an "immensely difficult year for the Chicago Police Department."
Gary and Marmolejo are among four of the department's officers to be killed in the line of duty in 2018, according to the Tribune. In November, Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, was killed in a mass shooting at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on Chicago's South Side. And in February, Commander Paul Bauer, 53, was fatally shot while pursuing a suspect.