Chicago Police Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. improving, moving to rehab facility
CHICAGO - It’s been a little more than two weeks since Chicago Police Officer Carlos Yanez Junior was shot twice in the head during an attack that killed his partner, Officer Ella French.
There is some good news to report. Yanez has been moved out of the hospital and into a rehab facility to continue his recovery.
"My son is improving a little bit every day," said Carlos Yanez Sr., the wounded officer’s father. "Thank God and the prayers are working."
He said the family is amazed by the support they’ve been receiving.
"It’s been so overwhelming, the support. Not only from the police, but the general public I think is seeing the police are just families."
The Yanez family is a police family. Both father and son are Chicago cops. Yanez Sr. retired three years ago after 25 years on the force, and his wife is still working as an officer in the southwest suburbs.
But their life changed in an instant on August 7, just moments after Yanez Sr. spoke with his son and his son’s police partner Ella French on the phone.
"So he puts her on. ‘Oh hello. Hey nice to meet you. Be safe out there.‘ Puts my son back on. ‘I love you dad, I love you, OK.’ And 20 minutes later I got the call from my daughter that he'd been shot," Yanez Sr. said.
It happened during a traffic stop in West Englewood. Two brothers are now charged with shooting and killing officer French and putting two bullets in the head of Officer Yanez.
One went through his eye-socket and became lodged in his jaw. The other remains lodged in his brain, so close to a major artery that doctors are afraid to try to remove it.
"They said, well it’s more dangerous to take it out now … leave it there and let him regain his strength," Yanez Sr. said.
He said his son is able to speak a bit, but remains partially paralyzed and he said he’s told his son that he has to fight.
"‘Hey let’s tough it out. We can do this…give it all you got. Don’t give up pushing.’ And he gave me a thumbs up," Yanez Sr. said.
He said his son’s spirits improved Friday when he was finally able to visit with his own son in the hospital, 2-year-old Carlos Yanez III.
"And that was the moment, the major turning point I think in him. To do more. To force himself," Yanez Sr. said.
Yanez Sr. said his son had worked in Englewood for seven years and loved the beat and helping residents. But like many cops, he was growing frustrated with the criminal justice system.
"He’d come in. ‘How was your day?’ ‘Oh I got a gun. I got this. Guess what dad, I locked up the same guy three times in a week with a gun.’ I’m like ‘you’re kidding!’ ‘No. Same kid.’ He was frustrated. Because they’re doing the job and they’re being criticized they’re not doing the job," Yanez Sr. said.
But now his job is to get better and hopefully one day walk again.
Neighbors have placed ribbons in front of the family’s South Side home and a GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $300,000.
"I want to thank everybody out there," Yanez Sr. said. "I can’t begin, there’s hundreds and thousands of people reaching out. We appreciate all the generosity you’re giving my son. That’s not the important thing. The important thing is the prayers and support. That’s what we really need. Miracles."
He says his family wants to express their gratitude to both the Chicago police officers and officers from around the country, and the public, who attended Officer Ella French's funeral last week and also showed support to his family.