His death was condemned to suicide from a gunshot wound, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said Saturday.
RELATED: Mental health in the Chicago area, Illinois
Illinois State Police said 36-year-old Gerald Mason was found in his club car on the I-94 north lanes shortly before 2 p.m.
He was taken to the University of Chicago Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:16 pm Illinois State Police initially said Friday in a statement the shooting was a “police officer involved,” however, adding that there was no known public intimidation as investigations into Mason’s death continued.
A woman who was driving on the steps entered Dan Ryan around 1:45 pm, when she saw her car wrecked in the middle attack, went to help and found Mason inside. She used her radio to call quickly for help.
State police said Mason worked for the State of Chicago and was an 11-year-old warrior. The ISP said Mason was on duty when he died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
RELATED: CPD launches Officer Support System driving program aimed at suicide prevention, conditions including increased power
“A lot of people called Mason ‘The Hulk,'” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. “He was a strong and resilient man. He even tore his military trousers at the foot because of those muscles.”
Witnesses said they saw police pull Mason out of the car and take him to the hospital.
“I know they look like heroes in many days but they are not immortal, they are immortal,” Kelly said. “They are people with hearts, minds, and souls, who are not as strong as the next person. They have a breach.”
“Everyone loved him. Everyone loved my son,” said his mother, Linda Mason. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”
He said his son had always wanted to be a police officer. She says she received a call from her young son Friday afternoon as the media discussed the widespread incident, and phoned Gerald to check on her. He did not respond, and shortly after he received a call from the hospital.
RELATED: FCC votes to make ‘988’ the number of suicide volunteers
“They asked me if I had a son,” she said. “I said yes. They asked me his name, I told them ‘Gerald Mason.” They told me that I had to come to the university. “
By the time he got there, he was dead.
“I don’t know what else to say. I love her. I’ll miss her so much, so, so, so much. My heart hurts so much,” she said. “He always wanted to be a police officer because he always wanted to protect the people. He wanted to make the country a better place.”
NOTE: Trooper’s mother speaks outside the University of Chicago hospital
Mason’s body was escorted by his colleagues and Chicago police in procession, while his family watched and then shouted in agony.
Mason’s mother said her eldest son was unmarried and had no children. He leaves behind a large family that everyone will miss very much.
If you or someone you know is in trouble, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call the Crisis Text Line and send HOME to 741741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (US) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.