Off-duty Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca shot to death in Gage Park while driving home from shift

6-year veteran's car taken after shooting, CPD says; Ofc. Aréanah Preston also worked in District 5, killed while off duty in 2023

ByChristian Piekos, Michelle Gallardo, Cate Cauguiran, Maher Kawash, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, April 22, 2024
CPD Ofc. Huesca fatally shot on SW Side while driving home from shift
Luis Huesca, an off-duty police officer shot and killed in Chicago, was found injured in the 3100 block of West 56th Street in Gage Park early Sunday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Off-duty Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca was shot to death on the Southwest Side early Sunday morning, CPD said.

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CPD Supt. Larry Snelling said the shooting happened in the 8th Police District as the uniformed officer was heading home from his shift.

Officers responded to a gunshot detection alert in the 5500 block of South Kedzie Avenue the city's Gage Park neighborhood just before 3 a.m., Snelling later said in a statement. The officers toured the area and drove to the 3100 block of West 56th Street, where they found the off-duty officer, who had been shot multiple times.

The officer's vehicle had been taken from the scene, police officials said.

I'm quite sure he wanted to make a change just like my daughter did
Dionne Mhoon, mother of 5th District CPD Officer Aréanah Preston, killed while off duty in May 2023

During a press conference later Sunday morning, Snelling said the 30-year-old officer was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

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

CPD Supt. Larry Snelling said the shooting happened in the 8th Police District as the uniformed officer was heading home from his shift.

Mayor Brandon Johnson released a statement, identifying the officer as Luis M. Huesca of the 5th District's Priority Response Team.

A candle-light vigil was held Sunday night outside of Officer Huesca's home. A large crowd, including multiple police officers, gathered to pay their respects to Huesca.

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."

A YouTube video posted by the Chicago Police Department last year shows Officer Luis 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," Officer Huesca said in the video.

Huesca had served with the department for six years, Snelling said. He was just two days shy of his 31st birthday.

Police said a ShotSpotter alert near 55th Street and Kedzie Avenue alerted them to the shooting. Superintendent Snelling said Huesca was still in his CPD uniform when he was killed, though it may have been covered up.

"The officer's vehicle was taken, but to get to the total motive of what happened, we need more information," Snelling said.

The vehicle appeared to have been located hours later, less than a half-mile away in an alleyway near 56th Street and Mozart. Officers blanketed that area as well, collecting evidence and interviewing residents.

"The vehicle found in the alley here, we believe it was the officer's," 15th Ward Ald. 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."

Officer 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.

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

Preston's mother, Dionne Mhoon, spoke with ABC7 on Sunday. She said losing a child is an unspeakable pain, one she does not wish upon any parent.

The news of Huesca's death instantly brought Mhoon back to the day her daughter was killed.

"It was like I was living May 6th again," Mhoon said.

Mhoon said she is ready to support Huesca's family with the same support she received.

"I instantly thought about that mother," Mhoon said. "I wasn't there, but I just thought about the sounds I made when I saw my baby... I thought about that family. I thought about how it's almost a year, and I am nowhere near okay."

Her daughter, like Officer Huesca, was also a 5th District officer.

"I'm quite sure he wanted to make a change just like my daughter did," Mhoon said. "I'm quite sure he wanted to make a positive impact on his community."

Her daughter, like Officer Huesca, was also killed while off duty and on their way home.

"Somebody's just trying to get back to their family, trying to get back home serving us... it's just devastating," Mhoon said.

The road to recovery, Mhoon said, is never-ending.

"Their family dynamic will never be the same," Mhoon said. "Everything is different for us."

Mhoon's thoughts immediately went to Officer Huesca's mother.

"I mean you raise your child, you pour into your kids, and you have these goals for them to do great thing,s and make you proud as a parent," Mhoon said. "It's so unfair. It's so unfair."

She also reflected on what it means to lose a loved one who dedicated their life to serving others.

"My daughter was the 600th police officer, and I promise, my prayer everyday, was there was not a 601," Mhoon said. "Today, God got another angel."

A procession transported Huesca from the hospital to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office Sunday morning.

"Today's news of the tragic shooting death of Ofc. Luis Huesca of the Chicago Police Department in Gage Park has deeply shaken our community," 14th Ward Ald. Jeylú Gutiérrez said. "This heartbreaking loss is a reminder of the violence hurting our neighborhoods. My heart is heavy with grief for the family, friends, and fellow officers of our fallen hero, who served our community with honor and courage."

CPD said investigators are still looking for a suspect and they have not yet identified any suspects. A motive for the shooting is still unknown.

Mayor Johnson's full statement:

We are deeply mourning the death of Officer Luis M. Huesca of the 5th District/Priority Response Team following an act of unconscionable gun violence in our city. No family or community should ever have to suffer such pain.

I met with Officer Huesca's mother and uncle this morning and assured them that they have the full support of my administration as they deal with this unspeakable loss. Our city is grieving, and our condolences go out to their entire family as well as Luis' fellow officers and community.

My Office of Community Safety, in collaboration with Supt. Larry Snelling and the Chicago Police Department, is committed to putting every resource available toward apprehending anyone involved in this morning's shooting and bringing them to justice. As the investigation continues, we will provide immediate updates as they become available.

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