CPD rules Ofc. Luis Huesca's death in line of duty, releases video of suspect in Gage Park shooting

Procession takes Huesca's body from medical examiner's office to Oak Lawn funeral home on what would've been his 31st birthday

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Ofc. Luis Huesca died in line of duty; video of suspect released: CPD
The Chicago Police Department declared Officer Luis Huesca died in the line of duty and released video of a suspect in deadly Gage Park shooting.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The procession carrying fallen CPD Officer Luis Huesca's body arrived at the funeral home at about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

It is the same funeral home his close friend and fellow officer, Andrés Vásquez Lasso, was mourned at just over one year ago.

On what would have been his 31st birthday, Huesca's flag-draped coffin was transported from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office to Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. His family followed close behind as hundreds of Chicago police officers escorted Huesca to where his body will now be prepared for burial.

Visitation is Sunday from 1 p.m. through 8 p.m. at Blake Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. A funeral mass is planned for Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Rita of Cascia Catholic Church on Western Avenue in Chicago.

CPD has been remembering Huesca, who was a Plainfield East High School graduate.

District 202 ABD Plainfield East High School released a statement on Tuesday, saying, "Luis Huesca, a Plainfield East High School graduate, was a kind and respectful student while at Plainfield East. He went out of his way to say hello and was a great representation of what Plainfield East is all about. District 202 and Plainfield East High School are saddened by his loss. Our sympathies go out to his family."

Speaking with ABC7 on Monday night, 5th District CPD Commander Tyrone Pendarvis found himself in the unenviable position of having to steer his officers through their second loss in just under a year.

"He was doing something that he had a passion. He wasn't a big individual, but the stature of his personality spoke volumes," Pendarvis said.

Aréanah Preston was even younger than Huesca at the time of her murder in eerily similar circumstances. She was only 24 years old.

"We have a young department, and I sleep well knowing that these officers are out here working hard for our city, because they're good officers, they're good kids. Yes, kids. He was 30, about to turn 31," Pendarvis said.

Meanwhile, as detectives continue to search for the person or persons responsible for Huesca's murder, police are circulating a two minute video compilation from four distinct locations, showing a man they describe as a suspect going from one gas station convenience store to another in the hours before the murder early Sunday morning. The suspect, described as armed and dangerous, is then seen walking in the area near 55th and Kedzie both just before and about 45 minutes after the murder.

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

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

Pendarvis said he has full confidence Huesca's killer will be found.

"We were here last year at the same time doing the same thing and they, they attacked the situation, had it all, all within a matter of hours. They are a phenomenal group of officers and detectives," Pendarvis said. "I put my total trust in them that they will figure out what happened and possibly attain the offenders of this incident."

Funeral arrangements for Huesca have not yet been made public. In the meantime, his parish priest said he will be remembered at both morning and evening masses for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth French, the mother of fallen CPD Officer Ella French, has been turning tragedy into a way to help officers in need.

Elizabeth French is on the board of the Light the Line foundation, a organization committed to helping officers during highly stressful situations.

August 7, 2021 was another tragic day in the history of the Chicago Police Department as 29-year-old Officer French was killed during a traffic stop in Englewood. Fellow Officer Carlos Yañez was critically injured.

Emonte Morgan, 23, has been convicted in the shooting.

The walls in French's home are covered with pictures honoring her daughter and her police career.

"I've had such a great deal of support from the Chicago Police Department. Being involved in Light the Line gives me a chance to give back," French said.

French is on the board of the Light the Line foundation, a new organization committed to helping officers during highly stressful situations with everything from mental health support to babysitting and other services at home. They plan to have a mobile officer wellness unit to be on the scene of critical incidents.

"Officer well-being goes beyond just mental health. It's whole body health: Spiritual, physical, emotional," said Officer Rhonda Anderson with Light the Line.

The organization is still working to get off the ground, but saw an urgent need for these services this weekend following the murder of fellow Officer Huesca outside his home.

"I just want to rebuild these officer's spirits. We've been through the wringer. We want to provide as much support for them as we can," said Elizabeth Alaniz with Light the Line.

Yañez says officers are often so busy helping others, they are the last to ask for help themselves.

"After dealing with professional help, talking to a psychologist, I realized so many officers I work with have so much PTSD," Yañez said.

The organization has ambitious goals to provide services to all officers. To help pay for it, Light the Line is planning a fundraising cocktail party Thursday night at CineCity Studios on the Near West Side.

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