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Memorial ceremony honors Chicago cop killed 15 years ago by drunken driver

“If I were to build a police officer from all the traits I feel are important to this job, I would build Mike Gordon,” former Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline said.

Chicago Police Officer Michael Gordon, 30, who was killed by a drunken driver while on patrol in 2004.
Chicago Police Officer Michael Gordon, 30, who was killed by a drunken driver while on patrol in 2004.
Provided

Chicago Police Officer Michael Gordon’s brothers in blue held a ceremony Wednesday to keep his memory alive 15 years after he was killed by a drunken driver while on patrol.

More than 100 Chicago police recruits and dozens of uniformed officers stood at attention outside the city’s police academy in the West Loop as Gordon’s father, Robert Gordon, himself a retired Chicago cop, stepped to the microphone under a nearly cloudless morning sky.

“When you lose your parents, you’re called an orphan. When you lose your wife, you’re called a widower. ... When you lose a child, it’s so horrible we don’t have a name for it,” he said.

The elder Gordon, noting the deadly dangers of the job, implored the recruits to not waste opportunities to show love to the people around them.

“I ask you, if you have children, hug them every day before you go to work,” he said. “Try not to have an argument with the wife or the girlfriend before you leave for work, I know it’s a hard thing sometimes. Be safe, and come home every day.”

Chicago police recruits honor Officer Michael Gordon at a memorial Wednesday, 15 years after he was killed by a drunken driver while on patrol on the West Side.
Chicago police recruits honor Officer Michael Gordon at a memorial Wednesday, 15 years after he was killed by a drunken driver while on patrol on the West Side.
Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Gordon, 30, was killed Aug. 8, 2004, when a drunken driver — whose blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit — ran a red light at 5:45 a.m. and smashed into his squad car at Sacramento and Jackson boulevards as he responded to a call near the end of his shift. He’d been a Chicago cop for nearly two years.

Police Memorial Foundation Executive Director Phil Cline, who was police superintendent at the time, said Gordon was everything a cop should be.

“If I were to build a police officer from all the traits I feel are important to this job, I would build Mike Gordon,” he said.

Shortly before his death, Gordon was told he was not writing enough parking tickets. He pointed out that he and his partner had made 44 felony arrests over the previous 60 days, according to family.

After one of those arrests — a carjacking collar — Gordon was so proud that he called his dad.

Gordon, who had so many relatives who were cops that law enforcement practically ran in his blood, grew up in Cicero.

He had a keen sense of humor, a sharp laugh, a ready smile and knew how to tell a story, friends and loved one said.

Before becoming a Chicago cop, he served in the Army as a military police officer attached to the 82nd Airborne and with the Riverside Police Department — where he won commendations for everything from arresting a thief at a shopping center to helping a librarian retrieve her keys from a locked car during a snowstorm.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson assured loved ones, including Gordon’s widow, Guin, and his three children — Malik, 22, Cullen, 20 and Grace, 15 — that their dad’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.

“The sacrifice that he made that night was the ultimate one,” Johnson said. “The burden that you all had to bear over these years we can never imagine.”