Officer Eric D. Lee was shot and killed as he and two other tactical officers attempted to aid a citizen.
Officer Lee and his partners were on a special patrol in the Englewood neighborhood when they spotted a man being beaten in an alley. They rushed to assist the victim and announced they were police. One of the fleeing assailants unexpectedly fired, striking Officer Lee in the head.
Several suspects were apprehended and held for questioning. The shooter was charged with the murder of a police officer. On January 23, 2004, Officer Lee’s killer was found guilty of first-degree murder. On September 17, 2004, he was sentenced to life in prison. On November 22, 2005, following many continuances, the Cook County Criminal Court judge balanced the scales of justice and denied Officer Lee’s killer both motions for a new trial.
Officer Lee was a 9-year veteran officer, a former Marine with a magna cum laude university degree, whose personnel file spoke to his nine years of good judgment on the job. He had volunteered to be a tactical officer, an especially dangerous line of police work. He had passed up his once-every-month options to “bid out” of Englewood for easier duty in a less stressful district. Friends said he liked the people of Englewood, enjoyed the uphill struggle to make their lives safer. Eric Lee became the 4th tactical officer to be shot to death in Chicago in 2 years.
His wife, 6-year-old daughter, parents, two brothers, and a sister survive Eric Lee.