The death of an Illinois State Police trooper found Friday on the Dan Ryan Expressway has been ruled a suicide, according to autopsy results released Saturday.
Gerald Mason, 35, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The incident happened around 1:45 p.m. in the inbound lanes of the Dan Ryan at 43rd Street, state police said in a statement. A passerby came to his aid and police drove him to a hospital where he died.
The late trooper’s mother, Linda Mason, told the Sun-Times Friday night that her son had wanted to be an officer since was a toddler. He was a Chicago native and Hyde Park Academy High School graduate who dedicated his life to policing, she said.
“He was a sweetheart, and he loved everybody,” she said. “He just wanted to protect people and make this city and state better.”
During a news conference hours after the shooting, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said his troopers may “seem like superheroes on many days, but they are not immortal.”
“They are not indestructible. They are humans with hearts, minds and souls, as fragile as the next person,” he said. “They have a breaking point.”