Fallen officer's star retired

October 20, 2009 2:51:56 PM PDT
A somber ceremony took place Tuesday as the Chicago Police Department retired the star of Officer Alejandro Valadez.Officer Valadez was killed last June as he responded to a call of shots being fired on the South Side.

Tuesday, the city paused to honor the young officer who gave his all.

Alejandro Valadez was on the police force for only three years, but he left an impression upon many.

His family gathered at the display case where his police star -- number 9534 -- will remain enshrined.

"His passing reminds us once again how much gratitude we owe to the men and women of the Chicago Police Department," Mayor Richard Daley said.

Officer Valadez was killed June 1 responding to a call of shots fired in the Englewood neighborhood. Men in a passing car opened fire.

"It's very emotional and very sad. Especially in this case. You had Alex, who was a 27-year-old young man, a phenomenal police officer. He's out doing his job. He's gunned down from the back by a gang-banger, driving by in a car. He never had a chance," said Superintendent Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

The officer's partner and friend, Officer Tom Vargas, tried to put into words his thoughts about Alex Valadez. The men were so close that they were known as "the twins".

He was a brave man. There were so many situations where afterward you think, 'what if?' We'd been shot at before. It's real. It's not like in some movie," Vargas said. "This happens to officers everyday -- last night, tomorrow -- it's happening all the time. It's what we do. ...Every once in awhile you hear 'thank you.'"

Officer Vargas was standing next to the fiancée of Officer Valadez, who is also a police officer. The baby she held is Alejandro Valadez, Jr., the son that Officer Valadez never knew.

"I will definitely be there for my partner's son," Vargas said."He's definitely going to know what kind of partner and dad he had."

Three men are now charged with the murder of Officer Valadez.

The officer's star -- placed in the honor display -- joins the stars of 464 other Chicago Police Officers who've died in the line of duty.

A somber ceremony was held Tuesday to retire Officer Valadez's star. It's the 465th star to be retired at the Chicago Police Department Headquarters.

"It's very emotional and very sad. Especially in this case. You had Alex, who was a 27-year-old young man, a phenomenal police officer. He's out doing his job. He's gunned down from the back by a gang-banger, driving by in a car. He never had a chance. And he did it while just trying to keep this city safe. He's got a great family. It's just very tough to recognize we lost such a fine young officer to senseless violence. There's a young boy who will never know his father," said Superintendent Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

The 27-year-old was a three-year veteran with the force. Officer Tom Vargas was his partner.

"That's one of the things that keeps me going and keeps our fellow officers going. He would not be telling me to sit there and do nothing, mourn. He would want me to keep on going," said Officer Vargas.

Valadez' fiancée, who is also a police officer, gave birth to his child, a boy, after he was killed. Valadez's sister is also on the force.


Load Comments