Charges have been filed against two men in the murder of Chicago Police Officer Alejandro Valadez.
Shawn Gaston, 20, and Kevin Walker, 21, were each charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder of a peace officer and attempted first-degree murder. Police said Gaston fired the gun and Walker drove the vehicle as they hunted for rival gang members early Monday morning.
The men had been shot at earlier in the evening and decided to retaliate, police said. They grabbed their guns and came back to the 6000 block of South Hermitage, where the first shooting had happened. By that time, Valadez and his partner had responded to the initial call of shots fired, and he was standing on the street talking to a resident. Police said Gaston opened fire at both Valadez and the citizen, killing the officer.
"The offenders were driving down the street and they were shot at by rival Gangster Disciples, the street gang ... Instead of calling police ... they decided that they wanted to go and get their guns and come back and retaliate against anyone that's standing on the block," said Chief of Detectives Tom Byrne. "That’s the bottom line -- you have somebody coming back and opening fire on a block ... basically for no reason."
The men were occupants of a blue 2007 Pontiac G6 -- a four-door sedan -- that was positively identified as being the vehicle used in Valadez's killing, according to police.
Police said both men have admitted to their roles in the murder, and both have previous felony convictions. In addition, police recovered three guns from the trunk of the vehicle, one of which is believed to be the murder weapon. They also found a shell casing in the car and matched it to casings found at the crime scene, Byrne said.
Valadez, who was hit in the thigh and behind his left ear, was pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County on Monday afternoon.
Valadez joined the Chicago Police Department in December 2005 and was most recently assigned to the Englewood (7th) District. He had earned a Department Commendation and 22 Honorable Mentions during his three-year career, according to a release from police.
Valadez is from a "police family," with his brother, sister and fiancée also on the police force. He and his fiancée were expecting a baby boy in September.
He is the third officer killed in the line of duty in the past 12 months, according to Chicago Breaking News.
Officer Nathaniel Taylor, 39, a 14-year veteran, was shot and killed in September while trying to execute a search warrant against a suspected narcotics dealer. Officer Richard Francis, 60, was fatally shot in July during a struggle with a woman causing a disruption on a bus.