National Security

Shooting death of Illinois trooper on expressway ruled a suicide

A police officer in front of a police car
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The shooting death of an 11-year veteran of the Illinois State Police force was ruled a suicide. 

The Cook County medical examiner’s office and police said that the determination followed an autopsy of 36-year-old Gerald Mason’s body, according to The Chicago Tribune. Mason had suffered one gunshot wound. 

Mason was on-duty when his body was found in his police vehicle and he was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center on Friday afternoon, the Tribune said. 

“This is a sad moment. We are hurting. Mason’s family is hurting badly today also,” Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said at a press conference, according to the Tribune. “We ask for your thoughts and love for his family and the Illinois State Police family.”

Mason’s death came just one day after the Illinois State Police had released a statement on gun violence announcing they would increase patrol presence “during peak criminal activity times,” per the Tribune.

This statement follows an overall increase in gun violence in Chicago and violent crimes across the nation. 

District Chicago, where Mason patrolled, had 180 expressway shootings in 2021, a figure more than double the number of shootings at this time in 2020, the Tribune reported. 

Chicago has also recently installed “Bleeding Control Kits” as part of a new Safe Chicago program to combat gun violence. Each kit includes a tourniquet, gauze, shears, gloves and an instruction manual on how to best use it in instances of “life threatening bleeding emergencies.”

Outside of Chicago and across the nation, homicides were up by nearly 30 percent from 2019 according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2020, marking the largest single year increase on record. Chicago was one of the cities that did not report data to the FBI for this report making the national information reported far from comprehensive. 

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