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Ex-boyfriend of slain CPS Special Ed teacher arrested in shooting of Illinois state trooper

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The ex-boyfriend of a special education teacher who was slain outside her Garfield Ridge home was in custody Wednesday after allegedly shooting an Illinois State Police trooper in Springfield, according to the victim’s family and police.

The suspect in the trooper’s shooting was identified as Cristobal Santana, 37, of Chicago, by Illinois State Police. In a statement, state police said Santana is also wanted in a “recent” murder in Chicago but did not give more details.

Relatives of Adrianna Lopez, 37, who was gunned down outside her home Sunday night, say Santana is her ex-boyfriend and had recently shown signs of violence against her. She was shot more than 10 times, police said.

“She was a great person, she cared about her family and other people,” her sister, Norma Lopez, told the Chicago Sun-Times through tears. “She was joyful.”

On Wednesday afternoon, a police squad car police could be seen outside the home where family were gathering. Relatives told reporters they had spoken to a Chicago police detective but were frustrated about the lack of information police had provided.

Lopez’s niece, Michelle Martinez, said the family learned of Santana’s arrest through social media.

“CPD is not letting us know anything,” Martinez said. “We are very concerned, and we just want to know what’s really going on. We’re trying to apply as much pressure as we can.”

State police said a trooper “interacted” with Santana about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday in Springfield. During the interaction, gunshots were fired, and the trooper was hit in the leg. Santana ran away but was taken into custody about 2 a.m., according to the statement.

The trooper remains hospitalized Wednesday evening, in serious condition, according to another statement, which said Santana was also injured and in a hospital. It’s not clear how he was hurt.

As of Wednesday, Santana had not been charged in either shooting.

About 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Adrianna Lopez and a male friend had just returned to her home in the 5400 block of South Narragansett Avenue after going out to eat, said her brother-in-law Noel Jaramillo.

“[Santana] was there waiting for her,” alleged Jaramillo, who said the man that was with her witnessed the shooting.

Oralia Luis, who has lived at the end of the normally quiet block for over 30 years, said she heard gunshots ring out that evening but thought they may have been fireworks. She came outside and saw dozens of neighbors rushing to help Lopez.

“Everyone was telling her to stay alive,” Luis told the Sun-Times. “The poor girl.”

Adrianna Lopez died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

“She was so sweet, she was so nice to everybody. It’s senseless.” Jaramillo said.

Lopez and Santana dated for about a year and a half before they broke up just three months ago, according to family members.

The family said they did not see signs of violence while the pair were dating, but about month ago, Jaramillo alleged Santana kicked a door in while they were arguing. Around the same time, an argument between Lopez and Santana turned physical, and Martinez said she helped her aunt file for an order of protection.

Law enforcement agencies could not immediately confirm an order of protection was in place.

Lopez did not have children but looked after her nieces and nephews as if they were her own.

“She was a very happy soul,” Martinez said. “She always wanted to listen. She was like a mom. She was my best friend. She was the one person I could go [to] for anything and know that I could count on.”

Lopez had been working as a Chicago Public Schools special education teacher at Nathan S. Davis Elementary School in the Brighton Park neighborhood for about three years, Martinez said.

While many questions remain, the family said they are relieved her ex-boyfriend is in custody.

Services for Lopez will be held on Sunday and Monday. The school where Lopez worked also plans to hold a vigil, Martinez said.

“Right now, we’re all just in denial,” Martinez said. “I was just talking to her, literally, hours before it happened. … I’m keeping myself very distracted with just wanting justice for my aunt.“

Domestic violence remains a problem

Last year in Chicago, there were 36 firearm-involved domestic violence homicides and 79 non-fatal domestic violence shootings, according to a statement from the Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence.

“When domestic violence survivors go to the courts for an order of protection, we must ensure that protection works — especially when a firearm is involved. For Adrianna Lopez, we failed,” Amanda Pyron, executive director of the Network, wrote in a statement.

The Network is demanding the Illinois General Assembly act on legislation aimed at removing firearms from those accused of domestic violence.

Karina’s Bill, named in honor of Karina Gonzelez, who was fatally shot in her Little Village home, would require law enforcement to remove firearms when serving an emergency order of protection. It would also clarify language allowing judges to issue a search warrant when ordering the removal of a gun.

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