Off-Duty Chicago Cop Pulls Gun on Sidewalk Counselor

Rachelle Crile Interview

Wednesday, December 16, pro-lifer Rachelle Crile went to the Planned Parenthood facility in Aurora, Illinois at 8 a.m. to sidewalk counsel as she has done on regular basis since attending a Pro-Life Action League sidewalk counseling seminar in September. After about 45 minutes in temperatures below 20 degrees, Rachelle went to her car in an adjacent parking lot to warm up before returning to the her sidewalk counseling post.

As Rachelle sat in her car, a couple in a white SUV pulled into the lot a couple rows behind her. Rachelle had a feeling the people might be headed to Planned Parenthood. Since Wednesday mornings are a prime time abortions there, Rachelle knew a life could be on the line, so she said a prayer, grabbed her literature and approached the car.

Offer of Help Met With Threat of Violence

Rachelle was approaching the car when the driver, a middle-aged man, waved a silver handgun at Rachelle from inside the car. Terrified, Rachelle put up her hands and went back to her car. A little bit later, the SUV pulled into Planned Parenthood’s parking lot and the man and a woman got out of the car and entered the facility.

Jim and Rachelle Crile talk with police

Rachelle Crile and her husband Jim talk with Aurora police [Photo by Matt Yonke]

Sidewalk counselor Marie Sulita was also at Planned Parenthood at the time and helped Rachelle contact the police. Within minutes, several squad cars arrived along with a paddy wagon and several unmarked police cars. Officers asked Rachelle for her story and entered Planned Parenthood to interview the man.

Meanwhile, Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler arrived at the scene as well as reporters from several local media outlets. It was eventually uncovered that the man was a 41-year-old off-duty Chicago police officer whose identity the police would not divulge. He was at the clinic with a 30-year-old “female companion” according to City of Aurora spokesman Dan Ferelli.

The off-duty cop claimed that he had showed Rachelle his badge, not his gun, but Rachelle was absolutely certain about what she saw. In the end, Ferelli said it was the cop’s word against Rachelle’s and if she wanted to press charges, she would have to go through the State’s Attorney’s office, which she is planning to do. The police filed a “disorderly conduct report” to document the situation, but no arrests were made.

Incident Should Incite Activism

“It’s really no wonder that a man bent on seeing his unborn child killed would pull a gun on a sidewalk counselor,” Eric Scheidler said. “The real wonder is that God keeps calling forth brave Christians like Rachelle to confront this violence with Christ’s boundless love and forgiveness.”

Visit the Sidewalk Counseling section of the League’s website to find out how you can learn to sidewalk counsel and get inolved in this life-saving work in your area.

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