Chicago police looking for 'armed and dangerous' suspect in Officer Luis Huesca's shooting death

ShotSpotter helped 1st responders find Officer Huesca after deadly shooting

CPD mourning fallen Officer Luis Huesca after Gage Park shooting
The Chicago Police Department is mourning fallen Officer Luis Huesca as the search for the suspect in the Gage Park shooting continues.

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Chicago police are looking for a suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of Officer Luis Huesca.

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A two-minute montage of surveillance video clips released Monday night shows multiple shots and angles of the suspect inside convenience stores and outside, walking along sidewalks.

He is described as armed and dangerous, and police asked anyone with information to contact them at 312-747-8380.

CPD is looking for a person in connection with the Gage Park, Chicago shooting that killed Police Officer Luis Huesca.

The time stamp on the video shows the suspect just minutes before, police said, Huesca was murdered at 2:52 a.m. Sunday as he returned home from his shift.

Commander Tyrone Pendarvis, who oversees Huesca's 5th District, saw the surveillance video for the first time on Monday night.

"It's a heavy load. Me and my officers are finding it difficult, but we're going to to go on," Pendarvis said.

Officers responded to a gunshot detection alert in the 5500-block of South Kedzie Avenue the city's Gage Park neighborhood early Sunday, CPD Supt. Larry Snelling said. The officers toured the area and drove to the 3100-block of West 56th Street, where they found Huesca, shot multiple times and still wearing his department-issued uniform.

Huesca's vehicle had been taken from the scene, police officials said. Multiple sources told ABC7 that his gun was stolen.

"The vehicle found in the alley here we believe it was the officer's," 15th Ward Alderman Ray Lopez said. "If it was a carjacking there might be evidence inside. An attempted carjacking. Who knows? But all that evidence is being collected right now."

Huesca, a six-year CPD veteran assigned to the 5th District's priority response team, was two days shy of his 31st birthday.

"Riding through the city, sometimes I can't believe stuff like this is going on," Pendarvis said. "You want to make things better, but the harder you try, sometimes it just doesn't happen the way you want it to happen."

In a video statement, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said Huesca was targeted for his vehicle, but CPD has not confirmed that.

"They had to execute him, because he was a Chicago police officer, and they didn't want to get caught," Catanzara said. "If they will do that to a Chicago police officer, what does anybody think the average citizen stands a chance in any of these situations? Because you do not."

ShotSpotter helped 1st responders find Officer Huesca after deadly shooting

Five minutes before a 911 call was made to report the shooting of Officer Luis Huesca, ShotSpotter notified emergency responders.

People who live near the scene of the shooting in Gage Park said they heard the shots fired and are devastated now, knowing what happened.

"It's just really sad how the community has gone... a cop dying and he was really young," resident Kimberly Belacco said. "It's something that we need to change."

Five minutes before a 911 call was made to report the shooting, gun detection technology, commonly referred to as ShotSpotter, notified emergency responders.

While it was too late to save Huesca, it did help police find him at an exact location and secure the scene more quickly.

"That five minutes, in another situation, could have made the difference between life or death, and we see that time and time again," Lopez said.

Despite support from a growing number of city council members and Snelling, Johnson refuses to reconsider his campaign promise and decision to end the contract.

"Our police department has the tools that it needs to help us build a stronger safer Chicago. As I've said repeatedly, it can't be done with policing alone. That is a failed strategy," Johnson said.

After a delayed vote by one of the mayor's allies, the city council will vote next month on an ordinance that give alderpeople future control over police technology.

"The fact is ShotSpotter is giving us an advantage when we don't have enough boots on the ground," said 11th Ward Alderwoman Nicole Lee.

Some alderpeople in high-crime wards say many residents gave up calling 911 when they hear gunshots a long time ago. They say ShotSpotter takes the place of that, but the mayor says focusing on the root causes of crime is the key to solving it

"We continue to rely too much on policing to address community safety as a whole. My approach is comprehensive," Johnson said.

ShotSpotter supporters in the city council believe they will have the votes to pass the ordinance. In the meantime, they have continued to have conversations with Johnson, trying to sell him on data that shows how the technology has helped save lives.

"The information that he has access to as mayor is significantly different than when he initially made that campaign promise, so we think the case will continue to be made," said 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins.

Alderpeople have a few months to convince the mayor to change his mind. Johnson is allowing the technology to continue through the summer. ShotSpotter is set to end in the fall.

Meanwhile, no one is in custody in connection with the shooting.

Mayor Brandon Johnson spoke about Huesca outside an event Monday.

"We are all deeply sorry," Johnson said. "This is very hard for our city. I spent time yesterday with the officer's mother and his uncle and our condolences have been extended to the family. This senseless and reckless violence that continues to cause so much harm in our city and so much grief violence has become unbearable. "

"We are going to release the full force of government to bring these people to justice," he added said.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

"He was a great officer," Snelling said. "A great human being. And his family is dealing with a lot right now."

The West Pullman community, where Huesca worked, has been feeling the incredible loss. On Sunday night, fellow officers gathered for a vigil at his Gage Park home.

Huesca's death comes nearly one year after another officer from the same district lost her life to gun violence.

CPD Officer Luis Huesca's death comes nearly one year after another officer from the same district, Officer Aréanah Preston, lost her life to gun violence.

"Here we are again, not even a full year later, dealing with the same thing, different person," Pendarvis said.

In May 2023, 24-year-old CPD Officer Aréanah Preston was killed after finishing her shift, just steps from her home.

A YouTube video posted by the Chicago Police Department last year shows Huesca paying tribute to Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso, who was shot and killed in the line of duty.

"This is not a symbol of us versus them. I hate injustices and lawlessness as well. That's why I became a cop," Huesca said in the video.

Huesca was gunned down just blocks from where Vásquez Lasso was killed.

"I remember Officer Huesca from the hospital. I remember standing with him at the services following. I remember his smile," said 100 Club of Illinois CEO Caitlyn Brennan.

The Huesca family's priest, Father Matt Foley, from St. Gall Catholic Church, spent Monday comforting his parents and siblings on the eve of what would have been his 31st birthday.

"It's very painful. They showed me a beautiful birthday cake that they had a previous birthday from when he was a child, and it was very sad to look at that picture and look into their eyes and know that he's not with them, here on Earth, but we pray that he's with them in Heaven," Foley said. "I think we're all concerned and we need to bind together, hold people accountable and bring people to justice."

Huesca was the baby of his family.

"I just enjoyed the comradery of his sister and his brother, how their mother and father loved him so dearly, and how hopeful he was, how much he felt making a difference in this world and how he was doing what he loved," Foley said.

While Huesca was in uniform at the time of his death, because he had just finished his shift, CPD has not yet called this a line-of-duty death. That determination would impact what benefits Huesca's family receives. The decision, ABC7 is told, may come as soon as Monday.

Cook County Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the case.

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