CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A Chicago community is grieving the loss of a mother and grandmother, but praising two officers for saving the life of an infant.
Lolita Wells raised six children and six grandchildren in her Back of the Yards neighborhood. But Monday night, she and her pregnant daughter, Patricia Chew, were both shot and killed.
Her grandson, 11-month-old Princeton, was also shot and is at the hospital recovering. He is alive in part because two police officers broke protocol and decided to drive him to the hospital in their squad car.
On Tuesday night, the intense pain of Chicago’s violence was felt on the South Side, where family members of the two murdered women shed tears and poured out their broken hearts. However, they were also grateful for the quick thinking cops who saved an 11-month-old boy.
“I'm in just as much pain as everybody else,” said the pregnant victim’s sister, Persha Chew.
For the family of Patricia Chew and Lolita Wells, the sorrow stemming from their murder is almost too much to bear. But as they struggle with that, they found a way to be grateful for the two officers who saved the life of Chew's 11-month-old son.
“He didn't have to do that, he could've waited on the ambulance,” said the victim’s cousin, Kira Goban. “But he chose to put the baby in the car and take the baby to the hospital.”
And that's exactly what officers John Conneely and Michael Modzelewski did. They were a mile away when they got the call about the shooting.
“When we arrived on scene, immediately we were met by the family member, the aunt of the baby, and she was screaming and relating to us that the baby had been shot,” said Modzelewski.
“We both had determined that the child had been shot and was losing a significant amount of blood. We both kind of looked at each other and said let's go,” Conneely said.
So, the officers jumped in their squad car and rushed to Stroger Hospital.
I was cradling the baby with my right hand and applying pressure to the babies wound with my left hand,” said Modzelewski, who’s an 11 year veteran of the force.
The decision was technically against protocol, but that never crossed the officers' minds.
“All you're thinking about is trying to save someone's life, and I think that was the only thing on our mind at that point,” Conneely said.
The officers don't want to be called heroes, saying they were just doing their job.
“This is just a small sliver of what police officers all over the country do every day that never gets recognized,” said Conneely, who’s a 17 year veteran of the force.
“When you experience something like this, it is uplifting and it gives you a little encouragement to move forward, and believing in that you made the right choice and the right career path, it's a positive thing,” Modzelewski said.
For the family, there's gratitude amidst the grief.
“He did a great job for my little cousin,” Goban added.