Police fight cop killer's parole request

Officials support Carrasquillo's efforts
CHICAGO Ronnie Carrasquillo was sentenced to between 200 and 600 years in prison for killing Patrolman Terrence Loftus in 1976. Loftus was trying to break up a gang fight on the city's North Side when he was shot to death.

"To release him would send a terrible message to Chicago police officers and their families that the sacrifice that Officer Loftus made in that October day in 1976 has been forgotten," said Philip Cline, former CPD superintendent.

In past parole attempts, Carrasquillo said he did not know Loftus was a policeman and said he fired his gun in the air. To counter the claim, the State's Attorney resurrected a yellowed pile of evidence from 30 years ago.

"His bullet enters his face here and lodges right here. That's going to be significant. The evidence defies Carrasquillo's statement," said Gina Savini, assistant Cook County State's Attorney.

U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez is one of a half dozen elected Latino officials who support Carasquillo's parole effort. In a statement, Gutierrez writes that Carrasquillo "...is ready to make a positive contribution to our community and to mentor our young people to stay away from gangs and violence".

Other elected officials who today confirmed their support for Carrasquillo's bid are State Senator William Delgado and Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado.

However, Chicago police say that Carrasquillo--whose street name was "Mad Dog"--is still the leader of the Logan Square-based Imperial Gangsters.

"'Mad Dog' Carrasquillo is a gang hero who typifies all the evil and hell that gangs bring our community," said John Schmidt, Chicago Police Department.

The Imperial Gangsters remain a scourge in Logan Square. Two of their members were arrested last year after Schanna Gayden, 11, was shot to death at a playground. The young girl is a victim of gang crossfire between the Imperial Gangsters and rivals Spanish Cobras, police said.

"For Ronnie Carrasquillo, who is still a member of the Imperial Gangsters, to get back on the street only 30 years after he shot Officer Loftus in cold blood, would be a terrible, terrible message," said Cline.

Carrasquillo will be interviewed by the Prison Review Board on July 10th before the board renders its final decision.

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