Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Officer Andrés Mauricio Vásquez Lasso had a young daughter. The story has been updated.
ASHBURN — Snow began to fall Thursday morning as officers carried the flag-draped casket of Officer Andrés Mauricio Vásquez Lasso outside a Far Southwest Side church after his funeral.
Vásquez Lasso was killed in the line of duty March 1. Prosecutors have said an 18-year-old shot the officer in front of a playground full of children during a chase. Steven Montano has been charged with murder.
Vásquez Lasso had been with the Police Department for five years, and he was married, officials have said.
The officer loved to salsa, often taking his wife out dancing, fellow officers and friends recalled during his funeral services at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, 7740 S. Western Ave. He was known for being so well-mannered that his wife’s friends teased her about how polite he was.
Another officer joked that Vásquez Lasso showed up late to a class on his first day at the police training academy, getting the cadets in trouble with their trainer. But they quickly formed a bond, he told mourners at the funeral, his voice sometimes cracking as he recalled how Vásquez Lasso referred to him as a “beso” — a friend.
Outside, where many officers and others gathered to honor the officer, it was cold and quiet.
Vásquez Lasso was killed responding to a domestic violence incident in Gage Park, officials said.
Montano ran from responding officers, including Vásquez Lasso who chased him on foot, police and prosecutors said.
When they were just a few feet apart, Montano looked back at Vásquez Lasso, turned toward the officer and racked the slide on his pistol, prosecutors said during a bond court hearing Friday.
Montano pointed his gun at Vásquez Lasso, and both fired shots, the prosecutor said. Montano shot five times, hitting Vásquez Lasso in his head, arm and leg, the prosecutor said. Vásquez Lasso fired twice, hitting Montano in his “mouth area,” the prosecutor said.
Other officers who arrived to help arrested Montano, who tried to run away again despite being wounded, officials said.
Officers tried to save Vásquez Lasso, giving him care and putting him into a squad car before transferring him to an ambulance, the prosecutor said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Vásquez Lasso’s wife, Milena Estrepa, wrote an emotional tribute to her husband on Facebook, sharing some of their wedding photos, a picture of the couple with their dog and a picture of Vásquez Lasso in uniform standing with Estrepa next to a police SUV.
“It will never be a farewell; it will be a see you later to my favorite person, my best friend, my partner in travels and adventures that will always be present in my heart. To the best human being God could have given me.” Estrepa wrote in Spanish.
“Your chivalry until the last day, your infinite love, nobility, happiness, will always be in my memories. I thank you for every minute that God allowed me to share with you. I wish I’d hugged you tighter that Wednesday morning before I took off, given you more goodbye kisses if only I’d imagined that was the last time I would see you alive.
“You gave your life doing what you loved most. Every day you went to work with a smile from ear to ear.
“Thank you for being the best husband, dog dad, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend. You leave us with an irreparable hole in our hearts.
“Rest in peace, my love. Nalah and I will miss you every second of our lives. You are and always will be a hero. ALWAYS REMEMBERED, NEVER FORGOTTEN.”
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