Two men charged with murdering Chicago Police Officer Alejandro Valadez as he responded to a call in the South Side Englewood neighborhood last month pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Shawn D. Gaston, 20, and Kevin A. Walker, 21, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges and attempted murder charges, according to Cook County State's Attorney's office spokesman Andy Conklin.
Valadez and his partner were responding to a call of gunfire about 12:30 a.m. on June 1 in the 6000 block of South Hermitage when someone inside a vehicle fired shots.
Valadez, 27, was pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County several hours after being critically wounded in the shooting.
Gaston admitted he fired shots at the officer and Walker admitted to driving the vehicle involved in the drive-by shooting, police said.
Responding officers learned that the men were inside a blue 2007 Pontiac G6 -- a four-door sedan -- that was positively identified as being the vehicle used in the shooting, according to a police report. The vehicle was found by police just 20 minutes after the shooting.
Police said three guns were recovered inside the trunk of the car, including what they believe was the murder weapon.
Valadez joined the CPD in December 2005 and was most recently assigned to the Englewood District. He had earned a department Commendation and 22 Honorable Mentions during his three-year career, according to a release from police.
An Aug. 19 status hearing has been set for both men.