Indiana man pleads guilty to buying gun used to kill Chicago police officer Ella French

In a plea deal, Jemel Danzy confessed to purchasing the pistol at the request of Eric Moore, brother of alleged gunman Emonte Moore.

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A police officer leaves flowers at the memorial erected to honor Officer Ella French. A vigil was held at the memorial Monday, Aug. 9, 2021.

A fellow officer leaves flowers at a memorial where Chicago Police Officer Ella French was killed during a traffic stop in 2021. Indiana resident Jemel Danzy on Wednesday pleaded guilty to federal charges for illegally selling the gun that was used to kill French and critically wound her partner, Carlos Yanez.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

An Indiana man Wednesday pleaded guilty to buying a gun for one of the two men charged with the murder of Chicago police officer Ella French, becoming the first person convicted in connection with the 2021 shooting.

Jemel Danzy, 30, of Hammond, entered a plea agreement with prosecutors at a hearing Wednesday in federal court. The conviction will be the first black mark on Danzy’s once-clean criminal record that allowed him to buy a gun for Eric Morgan, who is charged with his brother, Emonte, for murdering French and critically wounding her partner, Carlos Yanez.

Danzy pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit a federal firearm offense, admitting that he bought a .44-caliber Glock from a Hammond gun dealer in March 2021 at Morgan’s request and gave the pistol to Morgan a few days later.

Cook County prosecutors say that Emonte Morgan was carrying the gun in his waistband when French and Yanez pulled over a car he, his brother and an unidentified woman were riding in on the 2200 block of West 53rd St. on Aug. 7, 2021.

Eric Morgan got out of the driver’s seat and tried to run off. Emonte Morgan allegedly shot French and Yanez in a struggle outside the car, and fired and missed a third officer who rushed to help. Emonte Morgan, who was hit in the abdomen when the officer returned fire, managed to pass the weapon to his brother, who was apprehended by bystanders near the scene, prosecutors said.

The Honda CR-V Eric Morgan was driving was registered to Danzy, though Danzy told investigators Morgan paid for the vehicle.

Danzy had filled out federal forms when he purchased the gun, stating that he was buying the weapon for himself. Danzy knew that Morgan, whom he had been in a relationship with for three years, had a 2019 felony conviction that would have prevented him from legally purchasing a gun.

Less than 24 hours after the shooting, ATF agents traced the gun to a Hammond gun store, where they recovered paperwork Danzy had filled out. Agents found Danzy a few hours later at the Munster, Indiana, restaurant where he worked, and he confessed to buying the gun when they interviewed him in the parking lot.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, though Danzy’s criminal history makes a sentence of 10 to 16 months more likely under federal sentencing guidelines, the plea agreement states. Danzy has been free on bond since shortly after his arrest. A sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 28.

Emonte and Eric Morgan have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bond pending trial.

Moore also admitted to buying a gun for a cousin a few weeks before buying the Glock linked to the shooting of French and Yanez.

Danzy’s attorney did not respond to a call seeking comment.

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