Chicago police join candlelight vigil for victims of Mercy Hospital shooting

CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Three days after the Mercy Hospital shooting, dozens gathered to honor the lives lost and also make a passionate plea for stricter gun laws.

Chicago police officers stood shoulder to shoulder and alongside the community. They met Wednesday night at Federal Plaza to remember Monday’s heroes: their fallen brother in blue, 28-year-old Officer Samuel Jimenez, 24-year-old Dayna Less -- a first year pharmacy resident -- and 38-year-old Dr. Tamara O’Neal, an emergency room doctor and the shooter's ex-fiancé.

“This could’ve been anybody at any hospital and if you are not safe at a hospital, then where are you safe?” said Dr. Meredith Reynolds.

Dr. Reynolds works at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Many of her colleagues knew and loved Dr. O’Neal.

Dr. Reynolds says she immediately feared for her friends at mercy.

“My first thought was one of my other colleague’s husbands who works at Mercy and the people that I knew that work there and study there, it was scary,” she said. “It is not lost on me that three people whose lives were lost are people who devoted their professional lives to the business of saving people.”

The group Wednesday night was not just remembering the victims, but also calling on elected officials to take a stand.

“I'm kind of sick the we should send prayer and coming to vigil after vigil when it doesn't result in moving the needle at all,” said Carla Kupe.

For many, Monday’s shooting shines a light on gun and domestic violence. Police say shooter Juan Lopez went to Mercy Monday searching for Dr. O’Neal. He shot and killed her first in the parking lot before killing Less and Officer Jimenez.

“Just thinking about all the time I hear why didn’t she leave her abusive relationship? Why didn't she tell someone? Why didn't she go to police? Tthis is it. This is the reason. Even when you leave, oftentimes it doesn’t work out in your favor unfortunately,” said Nadiah Mohaiir, a sexual violence prevention advocate.

Chicago police say the officer's wake will be held Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Oehler Funeral Home in Des Plaines on Miner Street.

The funeral will happen on Monday with mass beginning at 11 a.m. That will be held at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at Maryville Academy campus on River Road, which is also in Des Plaines.

FOX 32 will air that service live on Monday.