Chicago police officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso shot, killed in Gage Park; suspect charged with murder

Officer Andres Vasquez Lasso, 32, had been with CPD for 5 years

Chicago man charged with murder for shooting death of CPD officer
Steven Montano, 18, is charged with the murder of CPD Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso, who was shot and killed in the Gage Park neighborhood Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Police Department is mourning one of its own after an officer was killed in the line of duty Wednesday.

The officer has been identified to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as Andres Vasquez-Lasso, 32.

Vasquez-Lasso was shot on Chicago's Southwest Side in an exchange of gunfire with a man accused of chasing a woman down the street with a gun.

The suspect has been identified as Steven Montano, 18, of Chicago. He is charged with one felony count of murder one felony count of unauthorized use of a weapon, one felony count of firing a weapon near a school, one misdemeanor count of interfering with reporting domestic violence, and one misdemeanor count of simple assault.

He remains hospitalized and under police guard.

Vasquez-Lasso was originally from Cali, Colombia, and had been on the force for only five years. He was based out of the 8th Police District near 63rd Street and Homan Avenue, which was not just the community he served but also the community he lived in. Thursday morning, crews put up black and purple bunting over the entrance, a symbol of mourning honoring the fallen officer.

CPD comfort horses were stationed outside the station to offer support to the grief-stricken force and community alike.

"My heart breaks and I am furious because there is a war going on in the streets of Chicago where criminals have no fear," said 23rd Ward Alderman Silvana Tabares.

Tabares, who is the alderman of the newly drawn ward where Vasquez-Lasso's family lives, said their loss is personal for her as well; her husband is also a police officer.

"They run to danger to protect us. And that is what happened yesterday. Look what happened. And that's why I say Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso is a hero and he will never be forgotten," she said.

Lasso's family as started a GoFundMe to help cover funeral costs and provide support to his loved ones going forward.

The shooting unfolded Wednesday at around 4:45 p.m. in the 5200-block of South Spaulding Avenue.

Officers were responding to a 911 call about a person chasing a woman down the street with a gun. Police said as one pair of officers knocked on doors, another responding officer encountered the armed suspect who began running.

Brown said officers began to chase him at close range. Then, immediately and without warning, police said the suspect shot at Vasquez-Lasso, who was struck multiple times.. Vasquez-Lasso was able to return fire, striking Montano in the head.

Neighbor Maria Davila said she saw the suspected gunman surrounded by police moments after the shooting.

"The guy who shoot the police, he say to the other police, 'Shoot me, shoot me,'" she said.

Fifteenth Ward Alderman Ray Lopez said the gunman had previously been arrested in July 2022 after he was seen running from a stolen vehicle that had been used in a shooting. State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office filed misdemeanor charges in that case, and the suspect was released on an I-bond.

"We should have thrown everything we had at him months ago," Lopez said. "And if we had done that, If Kim Foxx had done that, then Officer Lasso probably would be alive today."

Foxx issued a statement about the charges in that July case, saying, "The defendant, who had no prior record, was given an I-bond after being charged on July 29, 2022, with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, after running from a vehicle that had been stopped by police."

It continued, "The defendant, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was not charged with a felony because the evidence does not support a charge of gun possession for this offender."

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability will be conducting an investigation into the police shooting. Brown said body-worn camera footage is being reviewed.

Vigils held for fallen Officer Vasquez-Lasso

Community and fellow CPD and CFD members surrounded the family of fallen Officer Vasquez-Lasso at a candelight prayer vigil Thursday night.

There was an outpouring of support for the family of the fallen officer at two vigils Thursday night.

His family was surrounded by dozens of neighbors, Chicago police officers and firefighters, standing arm in arm, at the prayer and candlelight vigil in Hale Park.

"I knew him more than 13 years; He's my close friend, I lost a brother as well. I'm shook," said family friend Joaquin Iglesias. "He was a really good man, really good guy... braver than myself, absolutely."

"The Chicago Police Department lost one of our brothers, Andres. Law enforcement lost one of its brothers. This family lost their brother," said 8th District Commander Bryan Sreyne.

"He served our community and we need to show up for him," said vigil organize Jennifer New.

Posters with his photo were dispersed throughout the crowd as the community vowed to never forget their protector and neighbor.

In addition to honoring Officer Vasquez-Lasso and his family, organizers said this was also to show their support to the Chicago Police Department.

A somber procession took place Wednesday night with dozens of police cars escorting Vasquez-Lasso's body to the medical examiner's office. First responders and citizens lined the streets to salute the ambulance as it went by.

WATCH: Body of fallen police officer arrives at Medical Examiner's office

Hundreds of Chicago police officers and first responders salute the ambulance carrying the fallen CPD officer to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office Wednesday night.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown asked the city to pray for his family.

"I ask that this city cover this officer's family. This is a family of public servants and as you can imagine, they are taking this tragedy, very, very hard," Brown said.

"Our hearts go out to this young officer's family," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. "We need to lift them up in our prayers, wrap our arms around them as they go through this journey of grief and loss."

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