Authorities have identified a Chicago Police officer who died Tuesday morning after being found unconscious while on duty at the Calumet District police station on the Far South Side.
The officer, identified as 47-year-old Vinita Williams, was found unconscious about 4:15 a.m. at the station, 727 E. 111th Street, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. It was not immediately clear what caused her to fall unconscious.
Williams was taken to Trinity Hospital, where she was pronounced dead less than an hour later, authorities said.
Jason Palmer, an editor at Referee Magazine, said he went to Lindblom Math & Science Academy with Williams and had known her for 14 years. The city has “lost an angel and a good protector,” he said.
“She was the type of person you’d want on the police force,” Palmer said. “If you knew her, you’d be shocked she was a police officer because of her temperament. She was a sweetheart.”
Palmer said Williams, who leaves behind a husband and two sons, became an officer in her 30s, which came as a surprise to her friends. Before joining the police department, Williams was a curator at the DuSable Museum. Palmer, as well as many others in Lindblom’s class of ’88, were looking forward to seeing her in two weeks for their 30-year high school reunion.
An autopsy Wednesday did not immediately rule on the cause and manner of her death pending further investigation, the medical examiner’s office said.
The death comes two days after another officer, 36-year-old Brandon Krueger, fatally shot himself inside a squad car in the parking lot of the same station.
In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said it was “a very hard day” for the department and expressed “deepest condolences to all.”
“Coping with the loss of a department member is never easy; our thoughts and prayers are with all our members and family affected by these losses,” the Chicago Police Department wrote in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
Members of the department’s Chaplains Unit and Employee Assistance Program will be available to officers and other co-workers who knew the deceased officers, police said.