The glow of candles shined brightly in west suburban Bellwood as dozens of family, friends and coworkers gathered for a candlelight vigil outside a VFW where an off-duty Cook County Sheriff’s officer was fatally shot Friday.
Officer Cuauhtemoc Estrada, 50, was fatally shot outside of a family Christmas party at the VFW Bellwood Memorial Post 5081, on the 200 block of 30th Avenue, in west suburban Bellwood while trying to stop the armed robbery of his daughter's boyfriend.
"I know this is hard, but Temo always told me and his kids we need to stay strong and stock together,” said Estrada’s daughter-in-law Monique Nunez.
Estrada’s family said Christmas won’t be the same without him.
“We were supposed to go shopping for Christmas,” said his daughter Desirae Estrada.
Authorities say several suspects are being questioned in the shooting. No charges were filed as of Sunday night.
"It's very selfish what they did,” said Estrada’s niece Rocio Torres. “They don’t understand the hurt they caused our family, especially his children."
Estrada was a 20-year veteran of the Cook County Sheriff's department and a former U.S. Marine. He organized block parties, fundraisers and fought to bring Maywood and Bellwood together.
Estrada was many things to many people, but above all his family says he was a good person. And though Christmas won’t be the same without him, they want to make sure his memory lives on.
“He was my best friend” Desirae Estrada said. “He taught me how to be brave and strong and to always do my best."