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Hammond man illegally bought gun used to kill Chicago cop, feds say
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Hammond man illegally bought gun used to kill Chicago cop, feds say

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Gun used to kill Chicago cop was purchased in Hammond, feds say

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms believes this Glock Model 44, .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol was used Saturday to kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French and wound a second Chicago officer. The gun allegedly was purchased March 18 in Hammond by 29-year-old Hammond resident Jamel Danzy on behalf of a person who could not legally buy a gun due to a prior felony armed robbery conviction in Wisconsin.

A 29-year-old Hammond man is in federal custody after allegedly buying the gun that was used to kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French, and severely wound a second Chicago police officer, during a traffic stop Saturday night.

Jamel Danzy is accused of knowingly purchasing the the Glock Model 44, .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol on March 18 at a Hammond gun shop on behalf of a person, identified in court documents as Individual A, who could not legally buy a gun due to a prior felony armed robbery conviction in Wisconsin.

According to court records, Danzy was questioned Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of the Munster restaurant where he works by three agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

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ATF Special Agent Christopher Labno said Danzy initially insisted he legitimately purchased the gun. But Danzy later admitted he acted as a straw purchaser for Individual A, who was one of the three people in the vehicle stopped by Chicago police and who afterward had the gun the ATF believes was used to shoot the two officers, Labno said.

All three individuals in the vehicle — two men and one woman — were arrested following the shooting, records show. 

Emonte Morgan, 21, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting, 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.

French’s partner, a Chicago police officer since August 2014, remained hospitalized at the University of Chicago Medical Center on Monday after being shot in the head. He was initially taken to the hospital in serious-to-critical condition.

Speaking at a news conference Monday where the charges were announced, police Superintendent David Brown said the wounded officer is “incrementally improving from Saturday night’s tragic events.”

He said the suspects’ vehicle was curbed because of “expired plates,” but investigators haven’t yet established a motive for the shooting. Brown also said the woman who was with the Morgan brothers was not charged with anything because there was no evidence against her.

According to court records, the ATF found Danzy because the Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle that French and the other officer pulled over around 9 p.m. Saturday, near the intersection of 63rd Street and Bell Avenue, had an Indiana license plate registered to Danzy.

Danzy allegedly told Labno he's been in a relationship with Individual A for the past three years, Individual A gave Danzy money to purchase the vehicle, and Danzy sometimes lets Individual A drive the vehicle when Danzy isn't using it.

Similarly, Individual A told Danzy to purchase the gun for him and showed Danzy a photograph of the gun while they were at Danzy's Hammond residence, Labno said.

The U.S. attorney in Chicago on Monday charged Danzy with conspiracy to violate federal firearm laws, including knowingly transferring and giving a firearm to an out-of-state resident, knowingly making a false written statement to acquire a firearm, and knowingly disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon.

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Danzy was ordered by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert to remain in custody until his next court hearing Wednesday.

Prosecutors plan to ask during that hearing that Danzy not be released on bail.

French, 29, is the first Chicago police officer to be shot to death in the line of duty since 2018, and the first female officer fatally shot on the job in 33 years.

The Saturday shooting happened just after 9 p.m. near West 63rd Street and South Bell Avenue when the officers conducted a traffic stop of an SUV, authorities said.

Investigators have been using body-worn camera footage to piece together the sequence of events that led up to the shooting, according to the Chicago Tribune. Footage shows the three occupants were out or in the process of being taken out of the vehicle when Eric Morgan ran, leading one officer to chase and apprehend him nearby.

The second suspect, Emonte Morgan, pulled away from French and made a move back toward the inside of the vehicle. As the officers tried to apprehend him, he allegedly fired a gun, striking both officers, sources said.

Emonte Morgan was then wounded when he was shot by the officer who had initially chased his brother.

Brown also provided a brief narrative of the confrontation that led to the shooting at the news conference, also describing a struggle between Emonte Morgan and the officers.

“The struggle went from the trunk of the car to near the inside of the car, not necessarily all the way inside,” said Brown. “And the shots rang out from ... the passenger’s front seat of the car, which is where he was originally seated.”

Last month, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland visited Chicago to launch a new team of federal agents and local police focused on  curbing gun trafficking in a city where dozens of people are injured or killed every week due to gun violence.

The Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.


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