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CHICAGO -- In the sweltering heat of a July afternoon, they lined up Sunday outside a funeral home on Chicago's Northwest Side in dress uniforms and flak vests, in short-sleeve patrol shirts and dark suits.
Arriving in squad cars and unmarked vehicles, some of the police officers took a break from their duties on the street to pay respects to a fallen colleague, Richard Francis, 60, who was shot and killed on the job early Wednesday morning.
If officers acknowledged that he wouldn't be the last police officer killed in the line of duty, then they and others seemed quietly determined that he wouldn't be forgotten.
Hundreds of men and women in blue from Chicago and suburban departments, as well as civilians and firefighters, stood for more than an hour outside Cooney Funeral Home on Irving Park Road before the slowly moving line wended inside for Francis' wake. Funeral services are scheduled for Monday.
One volunteer said that many officers refused bottles of water as they waited, talking quietly and sharing stories about the veteran cop nicknamed "Buzz." Francis was approaching retirement when, police say, he was shot to death by a 45-year-old woman with his own gun.
"They said things like, 'This officer sacrificed his life; I'm not going to stand here in line and drink cold water,'" said Heather Aitken, a member of a neighborhood group near Independence Park that volunteered to help with the services.
Among those in attendance was Officer Tom Tinsman, 62, who works in a gang unit on the South Side.
"He was a good cop," said Tinsman, even though he never met Francis personally. "If he wasn't, he wouldn't be dead. He responded to that call, and he responded by himself."
There is nothing anyone can say to the family members of a fallen officer that will make them feel better about the service that officer gave or the sacrifice that came with it, Tinsman said.
"The only thing you can do is this," he said, waving across the street at the growing line of mourners. "With all the policemen showing up. It makes [Francis' widow] know that she's not the only one suffering. It takes a piece out of everyone."
Francis, a 27-year veteran of the department, was on a seemingly routine assignment, and on patrol alone, when he was shot and killed in a struggle with a woman who had caused a disturbance with a CTA bus passenger less than a block from his Belmont District police station, officials have said.
Robin Johnson was charged with one count of first-degree murder of a police officer, four counts of attempted murder of a police officer and one count of disarming an officer, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office. Several members of her family said she has suffered from seizures for about seven or eight years, and they described her as a peaceful woman who becomes violent only after one of her episodes.
She was hospitalized in stable condition Friday after being shot by responding officers early Wednesday. Her condition Sunday was not available.
Tinsman said the situation in which Francis found himself was one that officers encounter constantly.
"I don't care if it's a traffic stop or a domestic, or someone standing there waving to you on the street. Anything can happen," he said.
Patricia Schager of Palatine, in Chicago to visit a daughter, attended the officer's wake out of respect -- and a little bit of fear. Her son has been a police officer in Nashville for 14 years.
"My heart just stops," she said. "I just think of the loss. What's another word for nonsense? A waste of a human being who is out there trying to help other people in their time of need."
Mitch Masalski, who was a Chicago police officer for 35 years, said he worked with Francis when they were both in the 18th District.
As he emerged from his friend's wake, he said it was good to see so many civilians paying respects. "If you're going to give your life, it's nice to know people support you," he said.
Sometimes, police forget that there are people who are thankful for the job they do, he said.
"It's an important job," Masalski said. "Things like this make it harder, because you know how vulnerable you are." Francis "was the kind of guy who you'd want backing you up."
On Sunday, the police and citizens attending the wake were backing up Francis.