Officer David Blake, 45, was found dead Monday night in the 2900-block of West Seipp Street. Blake was a highly decorated officer who won 84 departmental awards during his career on the force, police said. He had been assigned to the SWAT unit for the last five years.
Officers responded to the scene at about 6:30 p.m. Monday and canvassed the neighborhood. Authorities, including a crime scene technician with a metal detector, returned to the scene Tuesday to collect evidence in the daylight.
No one is in custody.
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that Blake had earned earned 67 honorable mentions, one department commendation and a number of other awards over the course of his career. He also played four seasons as a member of the Chicago Police Enforcers football team, which competes with other teams from around the country to raise money for charity.
"A very genuine, quiet, reserved individual. But great smile, somebody that whenever there was a joke, he came to a quick smile. He was energetic," said Greg Zaragoza, head coach, Chicago Police Enforcers.
Neighbors of Blake's mother who lived in the Beverly neighborhood describe Blake as very responsible and somewhat of a loner.
According to a source, Blake was shot multiple times from inside his SUV. He had a cigarette in his lips when police arrived, although a close family friend told ABC 7 Blake did not smoke. His firearm was still holstered. His wallet was not taken, so robbery does not appear to be a motive. The early, operative theory for investigators is that the officer knew his killer.
Another off-duty police officer who lives across the street said he heard gunshots and called 911.
"I heard several shots outside the house and I looked outside the window and saw what I thought was a potential offender," said Theodore Browning. Browning said he did not get a good look at the offender but did see what he was wearing. "I was able to get a clothing description and gave it to the investigating officers," he said.
Blake's SUV was parked in a seldom-used, dead-end alley that parallels a one-block stretch of Seipp Street.
"Only people or residents on the block know about this wooded area back here," said Browning.
Chicago Police Superintendant Jody Weis issued a statement early Tuesday morning, but did not take questions.
"We just started our investigation and we really don't have any additional information to put out at this time," said Weis.
The officer's name had not been released pending the notification of his family.
"It always makes you feel safe to have someone across the street who's a police officer," said neighbor Shawntelle Barnes. "He always looked out for everyone, I can say that. He looked out for everyone."
"We extend our sincere condolences to the officer's family and friends and ask they be remembered in your prayers, especially in the challenging days that lie ahead," said Weis.
Late Monday evening, the slain officer's SUV was towed from the scene and his body was taken to the morgue.
"We've done this too many times this year and it's with a great deal of sadness that once again I stand before you announcing the death of a Chicago police officer. It's very sad and this should not be happening," Weis said.
Police are asking anyone with information to call Area 1 at 312-747-8380.
Blake is the fifth Chicago police officer to be killed this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.