Veteran officer murdered: Chicago police officer gunned down on the way home in apparent carjacking

CHICAGO, IL - A six-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department was gunned down as he headed home after his shift early Sunday morning, continuing the alarming 2024 trend of police officers being targeted. 

ABC News reports that Officer Luis M. Huesca, 30, was shot multiple times and had his car taken, according to CPD Superintendent Larry Snelling during a Sunday morning news conference. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who has previously called to defund the police, called the killing “an act of unconscionable gun violence in our city.” 

“I met with Officer Huesca’s mother and uncle this morning and assured them that they have my full support 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 the community,” Johnson posted on X. 

Huesca was assigned to the CPD’s 5th District as a member of the Priority Response Team. The department’s website describes the unit as supporting “the work of the beat officers and to ensure that emergency calls for service are answered promptly.” It continues that “plainclothes tactical and gang officers assigned to each police district also support the work of beat officers by focusing on solving crimes and apprehending offenders.” 

The Chicago Sun-Times said Huesca was shot to death in what was an apparent carjacking in Gage Park on the Southwest Side of the city. Officers responded to a ShotSpotter activation at approximately 2:55 a.m. and found the stricken officer with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. 

Snelling told reporters gathered at the news conference that Huesca was a six-year veteran of the department and was killed only two days before his 31st birthday. 

‘We lost one of our own today,” Snelling said. “He was just a great officer, great human being.” 

Authorities said approximately 30 shots were fired during the attack. Huesca’s Toyota 4-Runner was stolen and was recovered nearby afterward. Huesca’s badge and gun were not located at the scene, police said. 

In a letter to the Chicago PD, Snelling said Huesca was assigned to the office of Deputy Chief Senora Ben. 

“There will be sadness, anger, and grief as we ask how the life of our fellow brother could be taken in this reprehensible act of violence,” Snelling wrote. “Our focus right now is on his family and loved ones who are going through the unimaginable trauma of loss. We are also focused on apprehending whoever is responsible for this.” 

Sadly, Huesca attended the police academy alongside Off. Andres Vasquez Lasso, who was fatally shot in the line of duty just over a year ago. In a video commemorating Vasquez Lasso at the time, Huesca said he was “the epitome of the American dream.” 

“He came to this country, looked for a way to move upward, made a societal difference, stepped away from mediocrity, did what others would not do in their lifetime, and actually succeeded in this country,” Huesca said in the video posted on the CPD’s YouTube channel. 

“Whether it was at work or outside of work, he could take the time to help others,” Huesca added. “And he’s one of those guys that actually deserve this star. He’s very proud of wearing this star,” Huesca said about the department’s badge. 

One resident who lived close to the scene where Huesca was murdered described the area as typically “pretty quiet,” however heard police sirens however didn’t think much of it. 

“It’s sad that someone loses their life over nothing,” said the resident, who has lived in the area for over ten years. 

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzaro decried the killing, saying Huesca was initially targeted for his vehicle but was killed because he was a police officer. 

“They had to execute him because he was a Chicago police officer, and they didn’t want to get caught,” Catanzaro said in a YouTube video. “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.” 

Catanzaro also said that “law enforcement in this state and all across the country are under greater attack than ever before,” noting that at least three criminals accused of killing Chicago police officers have been paroled over the past two years “because of policies of politicians and judges.” 

The shooting of Officer Huesca is the first killing of a Chicago police officer this year. Last May, Officer Areanah Preston was shot to death as she was returning home to Avalon Park after her shift. 

Four men, including a 16-year-old juvenile, were arrested in connection with her murder. 

Snelling slammed those who murdered Huesca in cold blood. 

“He was working hard out there to keep communities and to keep people safe, and today, that officer was a victim of the type of crime that he was working against to keep people safe in this city,” he said. “There’s a lot of violent crime out here, and there are people who are brazen and cowardly in the way they go about their days and carry out these violent acts against the decent, hardworking people of this city who are just trying to live their lives the right way. It has to stop.” 

Huesca is survived by his mother and an uncle. 

“He was a great officer, a great human being, and his family is dealing with a lot right now. My condolences go out to the family. We really need to keep the family, his mother, in our prayers,” Snelling continued. “These are senseless, senseless crimes that are taking the lives of our community members. Today, one of our officers.” 

In 2020, Mayor Johnson, then a Cook County Commissioner, wrote a resolution to “redirect funds from policing and incarceration to public services not administered by law enforcement that promote community health and safety equitably.” 

Johnson downplayed his push to defund the police, claiming in a radio interview that defunding the police “was a political goal. I never said it was mine.” 

During the mayoral race, Johnson changed gears and vowed not to cut the police department’s budget “by even one penny.” 

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