Crowds of police officers, officials, family and friends gathered Thursday morning at the chapel of St. Rita of Cacia Shrine to mourn Chicago Police Officer Andres Mauricio Vasquez Lasso, who was shot and killed March 1 while responding to an internal 911 call.
Thousands of Chicago police officers and other first responders were outside the church, many wearing the navy jackets and white gloves of their official uniforms as they lined up.
Dozens of police cars lined Southwest Avenue, where Vasquez Lasso’s casket was to pass under an American flag held by two extended fire engine ladders before making its way to the chapel.
Mayor Laurie Lightfoot was scheduled to attend the funeral mass.
18-year-old Stephen Montana charged with first degree murderalong with two felony weapons charges and charges of interfering with a report of domestic violence and assault after the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office said he shot Vasquez Laso after a chase near his Gage Park home.
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Vazquez Lasso was among the officers who responded to the 5200 block of South Spaulding Avenue after a fight between Montana and his girlfriend spilled into the street.
Montana threatened to pull a gun during an argument with his girlfriend, grabbed her phone to prevent her from calling 911 and charged at her, prosecutors allege. Montana fled when police arrived and shot Vazquez Lasso near a playground where the children hid under a slide, prosecutors said.
Vasquez Lasso shot and wounded Montana.
Vazquez Lasso was the first Chicago Police Department officer killed in the line of duty since Ella French was killed during a traffic stop in August 2021.
His widow, Milena Estepa de Vazquez, remembered him in a Facebook post, writing in Spanish that his death “leaves an irreparable hole in our hearts.”
“You have dedicated your life to what you love, going to work every day with a smile from ear to ear. Thank you for being the best husband, dog, dad, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend,” Estepa de Vasquez wrote.
Hundreds of people also paid their respects to the officer during Wednesday’s visit, including dozens of police and other first responders in uniform.