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Chicago Cop Gunned Down Early Monday Morning

By Laura Oppenheimer in News on Feb 13, 2007 7:30PM

Jose Vazquez, an eight-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, became the first police officer killed since March 2002, after he was gunned down outside of his condominium at about 1:45 a.m. on Monday.

2007_2_police.jpeg"He was a very well thought of police officer," Police Superintendent Philip Cline told the Trib. "We lost a really good officer today."

From what we've been reading, Vazquez was an ideal police officer for the West Side neighborhood in which he worked. He would hand out his cell phone number to residents and play basketball with neighborhood children. His record, said Cline, was impeccable. He was supposed to join the SWAT unit in two weeks.

Police believe Vazquez was a victim of an armed robbery, a crime of opportunity. Although his murder is incredibly tragic, it makes us feel a tiny bit better that he wasn't killed because of his work protecting the community. We may complain about the police from time to time, but when it comes down to it, Chicagoist is incredibly thankful that there are people like Vazquez who spend their lives making it safer for the rest of us. The police hope that footprints left in the snow can help them "develop some leads"; wet and snowy conditions have made it difficult to find any fingerprints.

Anyone with information is asked to call 311 (the city's information line), Chicago police at 312-744-4000, or Crimestoppers at 1-800-535-STOP. Police have announced a $21,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Image via the Officer Down Memorial Page.