What to know about the shooting of Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca

A pin in remembrance of Officer Luis Heusca on the suit of an officer during the funeral for Officer Luis Huesca outside of St. Rita Cascia Shrine Chapel in Ashburn on Monday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

It’s been more than a week since Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca was gunned down on his way home from work, and the suspect in the shooting remains at large despite a $100,000 reward.

Here is what we know about the case as investigators continue to circulate photos of the suspect, Xavier Tate, 22.

An FBI “Most Wanted” poster describes him as 5-foot-11 and weighing 175 pounds. A tattoo on the right side of his neck has the word “majesty” under a crown. He also goes by the name of Lamont Tate or the nickname “Zay.” The FBI said Tate has ties to Chicago, Aurora, Olympia Fields, Champaign and Decatur.

Officer killed on way home, police say

Huesca was attacked early April 21 in the 3100 block of West 56th Street, not far from where he lived in Gage Park. A ShotSpotter alert was sent out at 2:53 a.m. for 5501 S. Kedzie Ave., which is around the corner and down the block from where Huesca was found about six minutes later after someone called 911. He was still wearing his uniform.

Roughly 30 gunshots were fired and it’s unclear whether Huesca returned fire, according to sources. His Toyota 4Runner was stolen and later recovered just blocks away, according to sources. Huesca’s gun was not found at the scene.

Huesca had been on the police force for six years and was just two days away from his 31st birthday. He had attended the police academy alongside Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso, who was fatally shot in the line of duty just over a year ago.

Months later, Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Preston was shot to death as she was returning home to Avalon Park after her shift. As in Preston’s death, Huesca’s killing has been classified as a line-of-duty death. The classification means Huesca’s family will now be entitled to additional benefits.

Police identify person of interest

The day after Huesca was killed, Chicago police released a community alert containing surveillance videos of a person wanted for questioning. The alert did not name the person but said he should be “considered armed and dangerous.”

The person was in the area around the time of the shooting and changed clothes afterward, according to a source briefed on the investigation. Police recovered discarded clothing and a water bottle that he allegedly purchased at a nearby store. The videos show him wearing two different outfits, and he’s seen buying a water bottle in one of them.

Four days later, police issued an arrest warrant for the person in the alert, identifying him as Xavier Tate and charging him with first-degree murder.

As the warrant was being issued, a fugitive task force was recovering Huesca’s missing service weapon. Officers had arrived at a home in the 10800 block of South Hale Street during the afternoon of April 26 to talk to a woman about Huesca’s killing, authorities said.

A relative of Tate, Caschaus Tate, 20, stopped the officers at the door, telling them, “Hold on, my girlfriend is naked in my bedroom,” according to a police report.

Tate allegedly went into the bedroom, then out a back door and was seen tossing Heusca’s Glock 9 mm pistol over a fence. Tate, who did not have a license to have a gun, was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a weapon.

Caschaus Tate had been arrested days earlier for a burglary and Richton Park and he remains in jail pending a hearing on Friday.

Meanwhile, a reward of $100,000 is being offered for information leading to Xavier Tate’s arrest, with the money being provided by a Crime Stoppers; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; the Fraternal Order of Police; and the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. Anonymous tips can be submitted at cpdtip.com or (800) 535-7867.

Huesca remembered by other officers

Huesca was remembered at his funeral Monday as a “pillar of strength and a beacon of kindness” as hundreds gathered to mourn at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel.

“It feels like a nightmare,” Officer Christian Calderon said about his partner and best friend. “As we bid farewell to a man of honor let us carry his legacy forward with every step we take. Let his bravery inspire us, his kindness humble us and his memory guide us.”

Officer Lucia Chavez said she met both Huesca and Lasso at the academy, and the three formed a quick bond.

“I lost Andres first and now Luis,” Chavez said, fighting through tears. “I lost my two classmates, my best friends, my brothers. The violence in this city took them away from me, from us.”

Police Supt. Larry Snelling told reporters after the funeral that there have been some “major breaks” in the case but did not release any details. “We will get justice for this family,” he said. “Just like we want justice for every single family in this city who have been victimized by similar or the same type of crime.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Xavier Tate was not in police custody, police said.

More Coverage
Huesca was attacked early April 21 in the 3100 block of West 56th Street, not far from where he lived in Gage Park.
John Catanzara, police union president, discussed the maneuvering with the Sun-Times. When the mayor’s office began “pushing back” against staying away, Catanzara said, the slain officer’s sister told him if the mayor showed up, she would “make a scene and throw him out myself.”
Caschaus Tate, 20, stopped investigators at the door of a home in Morgan Park, then went out the back and tossed a gun over a fence, police said.
Family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers filled St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel for the funeral. “This day is for Officer Luis Huesca,” said Police Supt. Larry Snelling. “This is his day, nothing else.”
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, whose brother is a Chicago police officer, spoke with the mother and sister of Officer Luis Huesca at Sunday’s wake and passed their wishes along to the mayor’s office that night.
The line of mourners who paid their respects to the slain officer stretched around Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. A combined reward of $100,000 is offered for the arrest of his attacker.
Xavier L. Tate Jr., 22, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Huesca in the 3100 block of West 56th Street, court records show.
Funeral services for Huesca will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Rita of Cascia Catholic Church at 7740 S. Western Ave. in Chicago, according to the Fraternal Order of Police.
Huesca, killed on his way home to Gage Park, was a “great officer, great human being” as police Supt. Larry Snelling put it.
A community alert asks for help in identifying the male “subject,” noting that he “should be considered armed and dangerous.” Meanwhile, those who knew Huesca have been left reeling. Rocio Lasso said she leaned on Huesca after her own son, Andres Vásquez Lasso, was killed in the line of duty last year.
Officer Luis Huesca, 30, was going home from work about 3 a.m. in the 3100 block of West 56th Street when a ShotSpotter alert went off, police Supt. Larry Snelling said. No one has been arrested.
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