Two men â€” both with histories of gun-related arrests â€” were charged today with the murder of a Chicago Police officer who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting as he answered a call about shots being fired in Englewood.
Shawn Gaston, 20, and Kevin Walker, 21, were taken into custody for questioning within hours of Mondayâ€™s fatal shooting of Officer Alejandro Valadez in the 6000 block of South Hermitage, authorities said Tuesday.
They were charged with first degree murder and first degree murder of an officer, Byrne said at a news conference announcing the charges.
â€œEvery citizen of Chicago owes this officer a debt of gratitude,â€™â€™ said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Thomas Byrne.
Gaston, in a statement, allegedly admitted he was the shooter. Walker was driving a car used in the drive-by shooting, police said.
Leading up to Valadezâ€™s shooting, there had been ongoing gunplay near 60th and Hermitage.
He and his partner were sent to the block to respond to a call of men with guns and shots being fired, police said. Once there, Valadez stood near a vacant side yard talking to a man about what had happened as Gaston and Walker sped up and fired shots, striking Valadez in the leg and behind his ear, Byrne said.
Gaston and Walker were arrested on a porch in the 6200 block of South Paulina. The car that was used in the shooting was recovered a block away from there. Three guns were recovered â€” including one in the trunk of the car that detectives believe was the murder weapon. A shell casing recovered in the car also matched those found at the scene, Byrne said.
Valadez, 27, had worked midnights in the Englewood District, where he responded to areas were crime was spiking, his commanders said. He was remembered by them not only for a pleasant approach to his work, but also for his drive to take on tough calls and work late to see them through.
His sister is a Chicago Police officer assigned to the evidence and recovered property section. His brother, also an officer, works in the Ogden District. His pregnant girlfriend is an officer in the Englewood District.
Gaston was arrested in 2007 for carrying a loaded gun in the 6000 block of South Paulina, about two blocks from Valadezâ€™s slaying.
Gaston pleaded guilty to a felony and was sentenced on March 20, 2008 to two yearsâ€™ probation by Judge Bertina Lampkin. He is due in court before Lampkin next month on a violation of probation.
Gaston has been arrested at least 13 times on charges that include robbery, assault and gambling. Heâ€™s listed on several arrest reports as a member of the Gangster Disciples.
Walker pleaded guilty to a 2008 attempted armed robbery in the 6400 block of South Fairfield after he pulled a man from a truck as an accomplice held a gun to the manâ€™s head, according to court records.