2 men charged in officer's murder

June 2, 2009 (CHICAGO) Shawn Gaston, 20, of the 6200-block of South Paulina and Kevin Walker, 21, of the 2500- block of West 70th St. were each charged with one count each of first degree murder, first degree murder of a peace officer, and attempted first degree murder.

Police Officer Alejandro Valadez was shot and killed early Monday morning while responding to a call in the 6000-block of West Hermitage.

VIDEO: 2 men charged in officer's murder
VIDEO: Press Conference: Police announce charges
DOC: Read the CPD press release announcing charges

The two suspects were being held at Area 1 Headquarters on Tuesday night.

Valadez is the third officer killed in the line of duty in the past year.

Officer Valdez and his partner were responding to a call of gunfire when someone inside a vehicle fired at the patrol car on Monday, June 1, 2009, around midnight. Valadez, 27, was shot in the head. He was pronounced dead several hours later at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County on Monday afternoon.

Police say Walker and Gaston have both given videotaped statements confessing to their role in the crime. They were arrested only about an hour after Officer Alejandero Valadez was killed. And police say he died in an attempt at gang retaliation.

Police say 21-year-old Kevin Walker has admitted to driving the car. And 20-year-old Shawn Gaston has confessed to firing the fatal shots that killed Officer Alejandro Valadez.

The 27-year-old officer and his partner were responding to a call of shots fired near 60th and Hermitage early Monday morning. Those shots, police now say, had been fired at Walker and Gaston by rival gang members. They went to get their guns and came back, police say, looking to get even but shot at Officer Valadez, who was in plain clothes but recognizable as an officer.

"At this point in time, Officer Valadez, with his star out and his vest on, was talking to a citizen in front of that house and he was fatally struck by gunfire," said Tom Byrne, Chicago Police.

Just 20 minutes after the shooting, police tracked down the suspect's vehicle, dumped just a block from the shooting in the 6100-block of South Paulina. In the trunk, three guns, including, police believe, the murder weapon.

Minutes after that, they tracked down the murder suspects and arrested them one block south on Paulina.

Neighbors told ABC7 that Shawn Gaston lives at a home on the 6000-block of South Paulina.

One man ABC7 talked to on Tuesday night admitted he knows Gaston but would not say if he's related.

"At this time, we don't have anything to say...just trying to get through this like everybody else," the man said.

On Tuesday night, Police Superintendent Jody Weis asked for a moment of silence at a graduation ceremony for high school seniors in the Chicago Police and Firefighter Training a Academy Program.

Weis says the quick arrests are a big relief.

"It gives part of the closure process to the families...a heinous crime, and I'm just really pleased with the way the investigation progressed," said Weis.

Police say Gaston and Walker are both convicted felons. In fact, Gaston has been arrested at least 13 times on charges including robbery and assault.

Meanwhile, Officer Valadez leaves behind a pregnant girlfriend who is also a Chicago Police Officer.

According to the Federation of Police, Officer Valadez's visitation will be on Friday, June 5 from 3pm to 9pm at Blake and Lamb Funeral Home at 4727 W. 103rd Street. A Catholic funeral Mass will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 10 am at St. Bede the Venerable at 8200 S. Kostner in Chicago. The interment will be private.

Fellow officers mourn Valadez

At the 7th District, one of the toughest in the city, his sergeant and co-workers say the 27-year-old was the right person for the six-man tactical team.

"He was just a great officer. He had had a great rapport with citizens. He was aggressive to the fact that he was good. But he always maintained a level of professionalism," said Sgt. Shannon Jasica, Valadez supervisor.

"He was a great guy, highly motivated, high spirited, full of integrity," said Melvin Oliver, co-worker.

Valadez, known as Alex, was shot in the head and leg shortly after midnight Monday. He and his partner responded to a report of shots fired at a person with a gun in the 6000-block of South Hermitage. The police say a car drove by and two people opened fire.

"He was a great young police officer with a bright future gunned down while basically helping the people of the city of Chicago," said Mayor Daley.

No one knows the pain the Valadez family is going through more than Donna Marquez. Her brother, Donald, was killed in the line of duty.

"A lot of crying yesterday, a lot of memories, a lot of pain seeing another family go through this. Unbearable pain. There's no words that can help this family, just prayer," said Donna Marquez, president, Gold Star Families.

Valadez had only been working for the police department the past three years. He began in the 22nd District but wanted to move to the 7th District because it was busier and more challenging.

Valadez comes from a police family. His brother and sister are police officers as well as his girlfriend. She was pregnant and friends said he was very much looking forward to being a father.

The department issued the following statement Monday afternoon: "We would like to express thanks to all the surgeons and medical staff at Stroger Hospital who worked tirelessly to assist Officer Valadez.

"We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to all of Officer Valadez's fellow officers for their tremendous outpouring of support during this very challenging time.

"Our deepest condolences are with the Valadez family; we ask that you keep Officer Valadez and his family in your thoughts and prayers."

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