Transit Police Officer Found Dead Inside Chicago Church Where his Father is the Pastor

Burt Sanders, a NICTD police officer, died Friday at his church in Gary. (Sanders family, Post-Tribune)
Burt Sanders, a NICTD police officer, died Friday at his church in Gary. (Sanders family, Post-Tribune)

Family and friends are stunned by the sudden death of Burt Sanders, a South Shore transit police officer whose niece found him dead inside the entrance of his family’s church Saturday morning.

Those who know the circumstances say his death was unnecessary, but it is unclear how or why medics called to the church hours earlier left without taking additional steps to go inside and search for a patient.

“I can only hope that Burt didn’t die because we in public safety failed to save him. And if we did, what steps do we take in the future to ensure that any citizen who calls for help is ever treated like a false alarm call,” Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District police Chief Robert Byrd said Monday.

Sanders, 44, of Gary, left the Gary Police Department after serving for 10 years. He joined the NICTD police department about five years ago, but remained loyal to Gary and was always ready to assist his former co-workers, NICTD Chief Robert Byrd said Monday.

“He was an incredible police officer with a wonderful family and very committed to his church and his city,” Byrd said.

Sanders was found slumped against the wall at the back of the sanctuary at Church of God in Christ on W. 9th Avenue in Gary’s west side about 9 a.m. when his niece and other relatives arrived to clean the building. His cell phone was on the floor next to him, his sister, Ruth Sutton, said Monday.

Lake County E911 dispatch supervisor Brian Hitchcock confirmed to the Post-Tribune that Sanders called 911 about 2 a.m. Saturday and the recording of his call includes the sound that his phone “was out of his control.”

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Source: Chicago Tribune

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