Family: Fallen Bloomingdale police officer always wanted to serve
Raymond Murrell died in a crash responding to a call of retail theft
Officer Raymond Murrell appeared destined to have a bright future with the Bloomingdale Police Department.
After less than a year on the force, the 27-year-old already had distinguished himself by earning honors at the police academy, helping save a man's life during his field training and having positive interactions with the public once he officially was on the job.
Murrell was killed late Thursday in a one-car crash while responding to a call.
"This is what he wanted to do. He loved being a police officer," Chief Frank Giammarese said. "We were so lucky to have him. To lose him so tragically, it's a hard thing."
He died from injuries he sustained about 9:30 p.m. Thursday in the crash at the intersection of Army Trail Road and Cardinal Avenue, officials said. He was responding to a report of retail theft at a business on Army Trail Road when his police SUV crashed into a pole and utility box.
The emergency lights on Murrell's SUV were activated as he was heading west on Army Trail.
"Unfortunately, something happened," Giammarese said. "We're not sure. We're pretty confident that the weather -- it was just a miserable, rainy, cool night -- played a role."
Giammarese said he doesn't know if other factors were involved.
"We don't know the speed," he said. "He had his lights on. He was going to do his job."
An accident reconstruction team of area law enforcement agencies and the sheriff's office is investigating. "They will give the information of exactly what happened," Giammarese said.
Bloomingdale firefighters pulled Murrell from the crushed SUV and took him to Adventist GlenOaks Hospital in Glendale Heights. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 10:50 p.m.
The DuPage County coroner on Friday said preliminary autopsy results show Murrell died from "multiple traumatic injuries."
Bloomingdale police officers were at the hospital and met with Murrell's family, including his father and sister. Murrell was single.
"It's horrible," Giammarese said. "Here's a kid who was just doing his job. He lost his life doing something he loved to do. So it's a tough day for us at the police department."
Murrell grew up in Addison and wanted to become a police officer since he was a little boy, following the example of an uncle who is a suburban police officer, said relative Belinda Showers of Elgin.
"He always admired his uncle and always wanted to follow in his footsteps," she said.
Bloomingdale hired Murrell in March 2016. He graduated from the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy at the College of DuPage, where he earned distinguished honors, Giammarese said.
On the department's Facebook page, officials said the young officer "had already made his mark in our profession and within our community. He had received a lifesaving commendation among many other well-deserved accolades. ... Officer Murrell -- we will forever remember the impact you made on our lives."
Murrell was going through the department's field training program when he and another officer used an automated external defibrillator to save a man who was suffering a heart attack.
After starting on the street several months ago, Murrell was involved in positive interactions with the public, including participating in a "Shop with a Cop" event, Giammarese said.
"He was just a wonderful guy," the chief said.
Murrell is the first Bloomingdale police officer to die while on duty.
For the close-knit department, the loss has been difficult, Giammarese said.
"We're devastated," he said. Grief counselors have been called to meet with the staff.
Murrell "always had a smile on his face and always treated people with respect," the chief said.
"Everyone loved this kid," he said. "He was just welcomed into the Bloomingdale family. He was just a great fit for us."
Village President Franco Coladipietro praised Murrell's accomplishments.
"This extraordinary young man was an excellent police officer, both well-liked and admired," he said. "There are really no words to fully convey the sorrow the Village of Bloomingdale, and especially his police department family, feel with the loss of Ray. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him."
Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday at Wheaton Bible Church, 27W500 North Ave, in West Chicago, and the funeral service is at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Wheaton Bible Church.
• Daily Herald staff writers Elena Ferrarin, Lee Filas, Chacour Koop and Justin Kmitch contributed to this report.
Officer Raymond Murrell visitation and funeral informationVisitation: 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Wheaton Bible Church, 27W500 North Ave, in West Chicago
Funeral service: 10 a.m. Wednesday at Wheaton Bible Church
Burial: Oakridge Cemetery, 4301 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Hillside