Slain Chicago Police Officer John Rivera Laid to Rest

Twenty-three-year-old John Rivera was fatally shot in what appeared to be a random attack

The Chicago police officer who was fatally shot while off-duty in the city over the weekend was laid to rest Friday morning. 

Community members lined area streets as a procession escorted 23-year-old John Rivera's body to his funeral. 

The funeral began at Annunciata Church, located at 11128 S. Avenue G, as dozens of officers, family, friends and mourners gathered to pay their respects. 

On Thursday, a line for the visitation stretched out the door and around the parking lot. 

Rivera's former partner penned an emotional letter which was shared by the 14th police district on Twitter.

"Words can’t even being to express the emotions, pain, sadness, and hurt in my heart," Officer Nate Smith wrote, calling Rivera one of the best friends he's ever had.

Rivera was fatally shot in what appeared to be a random attack in the city's River North neighborhood early Saturday, according to police.

At around 3:30 a.m., Rivera was sitting with three other people in a parked Honda Accord in the 700 block of North Clark Street when two men approached the car, according to police, who said one of the suspects opened fire on the car before they both fled the scene.

Authorities said Rivera was shot in the chest, arm and mouth and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Another 23-year-old man in the car was shot in his chest and arm and taken to Northwestern where he was underwent surgery Saturday morning and was expected to survive. 

Another off-duty Chicago police officer and a woman were also in the car, but were not wounded in the shooting, officials said.

Rivera had been with the department for about two years, police said, and had worked his shift the night before, handling the paperwork on a murder case.

“This appears to be an unprovoked attack against a group of individuals who went out to unwind on a Friday night,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Saturday.

Johnson said Rivera was "the kind of officer that we want in Chicago. Hard-worker, who loved going out on patrol and solving problems... he helped investigate a tragic murder, helped console a family on an unthinkable loss."

Two people were charged with murder in connection with the shooting, authorities said early Monday.

Menelik Jackson, 24, and 32-year-old Jovan Battle, of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, were both charged with one felony count of first degree murder and three felony counts of attempted murder, Chicago police said in a statement. 

Jackson, of suburban South Holland, was also charged with resisting or obstructing a peace officer, according to police. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officers were also looking for a third person of interest in the case. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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