CHICAGO (AP) — The death of an Illinois State Police trooper on a Chicago expressway has been ruled a suicide, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Saturday.
An autopsy found District Chicago Trooper Gerald Mason, 35, died of a gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner’s office said. His age was initially reported as 36 on Friday by state police.
The 11-year state police veteran died Friday shortly after the shooting around 2 p.m. on the inbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway on the city’s South Side, authorities said.
“He was an amazing District Chicago trooper,” Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said during a news conference Friday evening.
The trooper’s mother, Linda Mason, told the Chicago Sun-Times that her son had wanted to be an officer since he was a toddler. He was a Chicago native 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.”
On Thursday, the Illinois State Police announced it would more than double patrols in the Chicago area beginning Friday in response to a surge in shootings on expressways over the past two years.
There have been more than 185 shootings on expressways in the region this year, according to the agency, compared to a total of about 130 shootings last year, and just over 50 in 2019.