Police Officer Eric D. Lee

Police Officer Eric D. Lee

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Sunday, August 19, 2001

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Eric D. Lee

Police Officer Eric 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 in the 6300 block of South Carpenter Street. They rushed to assist the victim and announced they were police. One of the fleeing assailants unexpectedly opened fire, 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 23rd, 2004, Officer Lee's killer was found guilty of first-degree murder and he was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. On November 22nd, 2005, following many continuances, the Cook County Criminal Court judge denied subject's motions for a new trial.

Officer Lee was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Chicago Police Department for nine years. 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 and enjoyed the uphill struggle to make their lives safer. Officer Lee became the fourth tactical officer to be shot to death in Chicago in two years.

He is survived by his wife, 6-year-old daughter, parents, two brothers, and sister.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge 16947
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Life sentence


Most Recent Reflection

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Eric, you are gone, but not forgotten. It's Dr. Brenda Eatman Aghahowa, your favorite Chicago State University English professor. Lol. You and I had a great rapport, and you followed me from class to class -- by choice! What a brave soul you were, both on the field and in academia, as my classes were always rigorous. I am sure you recall that fact, even in heaven. Lol. You always rose to the challenge academically, though. You were an excellent student!

I retired from CSU on July 1, 2023, but I am teaching my Publishing course this semester as an adjunct instructor. You are on my mind even today, in fact, while I handle some freelance editorial consulting with someone who is enrolled in a doctoral program at Chicago Theological Seminary. (You probably remember that, in addition to being a college-level English educator, I also am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. I have published, taught, and presented extensively in the area of Black worship.) Once again, I find that I must share with someone basic information about how to craft an effective thesis statement and outline. Once again, it is your excellent argumentative research paper that I have chosen to refer to, in order to provide someone guidance.

You may recall that your final project for my ENG 1280 Composition II class was on the DEA's federal War on Drugs. (You left us some 22 years ago, and possibly were in a class with me maybe 24 years ago, but this paper still stands out in my mind as one of the best, possibly THE best, that I have ever received.) You viewed this so-called war as a farce, due to inadequate levels of funding and staffing. You also felt that DEA and other law enforcement officers targeted low-income persons of color for mass incarceration, and that more resources needed to be dedicated to treatment, counseling, and prevention related to drug addiction, rather than to punishment. Your argumentation, statistical data charts, and overall research were outstanding! I still brag on that paper and share your thesis statement and outline (as best as I can remember them after all these years) with individuals who are learning to develop these foundational items for writing projects.

You were stellar, both with regard to temperament and writing skill. You had a fantastic balance of tough and tender. Your Pastor, Rev. James Meeks of Salem Baptist Church, who also recently retired, described you during his Eulogy at your Homegoing service in the way that many persons have described President Abraham Lincoln, as 'Velvet Steel'. I cried and cried at that funeral, by the way. My heart still aches when I think of the violent way you were taken from us, and I still miss you. To be sure, you always will be remembered as one of my favorite students from my 26 years of teaching at CSU. Given your great people skills. I had fully expected you to rise to the level of Police Superintendent or even FBI Director. Alas, the world was robbed too soon of your genius and talent.

You were the best, Officer Eric D. Lee! Continue to rest in peace and in power, and I will continue to pray for your wife and daughter, whom you used to take to ballet lessons when you were not fighting crime on the streets of Englewood. I expect to see you again, when it is my turn to meet Jesus.


Rev. Dr. Brenda E. Aghahowa
Professor Emerita of English, Chicago State University

October 16, 2023

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