Chicago Police Officer Brian T. Strouse was shot and killed during the early-morning hours of June 30, 2001 as he hid behind a parked van during surveillance for gang and drug activity in the Pilsen neighborhood.
On Friday, 10 years after his death, several of his relatives, dozens of fellow officers, and former police superintendents Phil Cline and Terry Hillard joined about 20 other people along 18th Place and Loomis Street to remember the 33-year-old Monroe District officer.
“He was more than just a police officer,” Strouse’s sister, Kathy, told the crowd. “He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew and he was a friend, as well as for some of you, a partner.”
A Marine who served in the Gulf War, Strouse joined the force in January 1995 and was known to many people in Pilsen whom he greeted regularly while working his beat. He was killed in a part of the neighborhood where crossfire between rival gangs occurred regularly.
Ald. Daniel Solis, whose 25th Ward covers Pilsen, said violent crime has eased somewhat in Pilsen from those days. He told the crowd about how moved he was when he recently spoke with Strouse’s father. The alderman quoted Paul Strouse as saying: “As long as things have gotten better, I’m very proud of the fact that it was my son that caused that.”
Solis then said: “If you can point out that Brian’s passing away has brought us together to improve things, to make things better…then this is a very special day. It’s 10 years. It’s a decade. And the memory of Brian still lives on.”
New police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said when he learned about Strouse he was struck by how “it always seems that we lose our best,” pointing to not only Strouse’s military service, but how he received an award by saving a woman from a burning building.
“He (couldn’t) help but run into that building. He couldn’t help but run towards danger,” McCarthy said. “It’s not normal to go towards danger the way that our great Chicago police officers do and that’s why we always seem to lose our best. Because they take those risks. Because they have that courage. Because they have that conviction…
“Brian certainly had that conviction. It’s reflected in his career.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun