The wife of slain Chicago police Officer Andrés Mauricio Vásquez Lasso is speaking out to honor her husband ahead of his funeral service, set for later this week.
Vásquez Lasso will be remembered at a visitation Wednesday and funeral Thursday. His death, his wife Milena Estepa de Vásquez wrote in a Facebook post, “leaves us with an irreparable hole in our hearts.”
“You dedicated your life doing what you loved, each day going to your job with a smile from ear to ear. Thank you for being the best spouse, dog dad, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend,” Estepa de Vásquez wrote in Spanish.
Vásquez Lasso, 32, was shot and killed last Wednesday as he responded to reports of a man chasing a woman with a gun in Gage Park. Prosecutors charged Steven Montano, 18, in the fatal shooting Friday.
Montano had been arguing with his girlfriend, threatening to get a gun and taking her phone to prevent her from calling police, prosecutors said. A chase ensued when Vásquez Lasso arrived, and the officer was shot near a playground where children took cover under a slide, prosecutors added.
Vásquez Lasso was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital where he died. A judge ordered Montano be held without bond.
At a vigil honoring Vásquez Lasso last Thursday, friends linked arms with Estepa de Vásquez as she clutched a candle.
“I wish I would have hugged you stronger that Wednesday morning before my flight, given you more goodbye kisses, if only I had known that it was the last time that I would see you alive,” she wrote in her post. “Your chivalry until the final day, your infinite love, nobility, joy, will always be in my memories.”
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A GoFundMe aiming to raise money for Vásquez Lasso’s family and cover the officer’s funeral costs had raised over $82,000 Tuesday. The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation also provided Estepa de Vásquez with $80,000, the foundation wrote in a news release.
A private visitation for Vásquez Lasso will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Oak Lawn’s Blake-Lamb Funeral Home. His funeral will take place at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel in the Ashburn neighborhood at 10 a.m. Thursday before a private burial.
Ashburn’s St. Bede The Venerable Catholic Parish dedicated a mass to Vásquez Lasso and Chicago police Monday evening. As the mass started, a priest lit incense in front of the slain officer’s portrait as a bell tolled and an organist played. The smoke continued to rise above the blue-framed photo throughout the service.
Vásquez Lasso was beloved in the Scottsdale community in Ashburn, Hubbard High School Principal Angélica Altamirano told congregants during the mass. He played soccer and joked with others with his “fun and easygoing personality,” she said. She then spoke directly to Chicago police.
“Unfortunately violence is a part of our society, and you still accept danger each and every day,” Altamirano said. “You go out there for service. We are praying for you.”
Chicago Tribune’s Adriana Pérez contributed.