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Hero Down: Illinois State Police Trooper Dies By Suicide While Driving Patrol Car

Chicago, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Trooper Gerald Mason died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while on duty on Oct. 1.

A motorist came upon the 35-year-old trooper’s smashed patrol car on Interstate 94 northbound at 43rd Street at approximately 1:42 p.m., WLS reported.

The cruiser had crashed into the median.

The frantic woman ran towards the wreckage and used Trooper Mason’s radio to call for help, WLS reported.

First responders discovered the trooper was suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Trooper Mason was rushed to the University of Chicago Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds at approximately 2:16 p.m., ISP Director Brendan Kelly said in a press release that night.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded Trooper Mason died by suicide, ABC News reported.

“It is with profound heartache and unfathomable sadness that we inform you of the death of Trooper Gerald Mason,” Director Kelly said in the press release. “Trooper Mason was one of the many fearless Troopers assigned to ISP District Chicago. We are asking the public to respectfully give consideration to the family of Trooper Mason and the whole ISP family while we continue to grieve and work through this tragedy.”

Trooper Mason served the ISP for 11 years.

“Many people called Mason ‘The Hulk,’” Director Kelly said during a press conference on Oct. 1, according to ABC News. “He was a solid, strong man. He even ripped his trooper pants during a foot pursuit because of those big muscles.”

The director said law enforcement officers can seem invincible, but they aren’t.

“The amazing men and women that we all ask to do so much, again and again and again, may seem like superheroes on many days, but they’re not immortal. They’re not indestructible,” he said. “They are human beings with hearts, minds and souls as fragile as the next person. They have a breaking point.”

Trooper Mason’s mother, Linda Mason, said her son always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, WLS reported.

“He always wanted to protect people. He wanted to make the world a better place,” she said. “Everybody loved him. Everybody loved my son. I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Illinois State Police Trooper Gerald Mason, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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