via the chicago Tribune
A Cook County judge today sentenced a reputed gang member to 105 years in prison for gunning down Chicago police Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez in 2009.
In issuing the maximum sentence possible, Judge Jorge Alonso said Christopher Harris, 25, killed “one of the best of us.” Earlier, Valadez’s sisters tearfully had asked for the maximum penalty.
Valadez’s first child was born a few months after his slaying.
Harris declined to make a statement in court and looked down at his hands as the sentence was handed down.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who personally prosecuted the case, had sought the 105-year sentence, saying “the criminals running around the streets of Englewood need to know there’s serious (consequences) for what you do.”
Kevin Walker, who was driving the car used in the shooting, was sentenced by Alonso to the maximum of 120 years in prison.
“We’ve lost a shining star and one of our best police officers,” Alonso said.
Walker, who faced from 56 to 120 years, apologized to Valadez’s family before he was sentenced.
Walker, who told police his nickname was “Killer Kev,” faced a longer sentence than Harris in part because he was on probation for an armed robbery at the time of the officer’s murder.
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring the lives of our fallen heroes. The Foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago police officers who are killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.
ABOUT THE CHICAGO POLICE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
Established in 2004, the Foundation strengthens the relationship between the Chicago Police, its business and civic leaders and its citizenry. It allows us to express our gratitude to the fallen officers’ families for the ultimate sacrifice of their loved one.
REASONS FOR THE FOUNDATION
Since the first officer to die in the line of duty, there have been 567 Chicago police officers who have sacrificed their lives for our city. The families of these brave officers are supported by the Department and other organizations, but as one might imagine, the cost in terms of financial, emotional and psychological support is overwhelming. Other, perhaps less-known risks associated with being a police officer are the stresses of the job. This stress often leads to disastrous consequences such as when a police officer takes his own life. Finally, as a tribute to the heroic lives that these officers led, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation has built a permanent memorial to these brave men and women. It is a spectacular site located just east of Soldier Field on Chicago’s lakefront.
WHY CONTRIBUTE TO THE FOUNDATION
By supporting these initiatives, our public-private partnership provides the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation with the means to achieve our goals. It is a sign to all the citizens of Chicago, as well as our nation, that Chicago’s corporate family and business leaders care about its police officers and their families. Your support is a reminder that when troubled times arise, we come together as families do, and provide comfort, support, and protection for one another.
From Detective Richard Milz via the Chicago Sun Times:
When the phone rang at 10:30 p.m. on July 18, 2011, Jeff Friedlieb was afraid to pick it up for fear that something terrible had happened to his son, who had followed his dad into the Chicago Police Department.
“I was sitting at home and I got a call….He says, `Come to the County [Hospital]. I’ve got a bullet in my head,’ ” the elder Friedlieb recalled.
“Most parents would get that call and they’d be in the alley picking up his brains…You have to thank God when you take a bullet in the back of your head and have the audacity to fire back and shoot the guy.”
On Tuesday, the elder Jeff Friedlieb was in the City Council chambers to watch his son and namesake receive the Carter Harrison Award, this year’s highest honor for police bravery, along with his partner, Officer Ruben Del Valle.
Both plainclothes officers were shot while attempting to arrest a man they had observed allegedly engaging in a drug deal in a West Side alley.
During the struggle, the suspect allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired several shots. Del Valle was hit in the arm and head. Friedlieb was shot in the head. The bullet remains lodged behind his left ear.
Somehow, the wounded Friedlieb managed to return fire, striking the fleeing suspect. Charges were subsequently dropped against one suspect, but another is awaiting trial.
“I went down. Luckily, I was still conscious. I was able to fight back and wound the offender,” said the younger Friedlieb, who still suffers sometimes from severe headaches.
“It was pretty much will and training, dedication to the job….You don’t really think about the injury. You think more about catching the offender. Your adrenalin takes over…[Afterwards], you look at life differently. It is a second chance.”
The partners credited their military training with carrying them through on that fateful day.
“I realized my partner was shot. I was shot. The first thing on my mind was, `Okay, we’re still moving. We’re still able to get up on our feet and chase this guy.’ That will [to live] is just survival. Your body just takes over. You get that feeling of, `I’ve got to make it out of here. I’ve got to make it home,’ ” Del Valle said.
Nearly a half-dozen of the police officers honored during Tuesday’s ceremony had been shot by criminals they were trying to apprehend.
The elder Friedlieb, who was shot at, but never hit during 42 years on the streets of Chicago, couldn’t help but take notice.
“They’re getting bolder….It’s a lot harder for the officers today,” the father said.
The Lambert Tree Award, this year’s highest honor for fire bravery, went to Lieutenant/EMT John Majka and firefighter/paramedic Anthony Licato.
Together, they rescued a bedridden, 94-year-old woman from the second floor of a burning house on the Far South Side.
Despite intense heat and blinding smoke, Majka didn’t wait for water lines to be hooked up before beginning the search. He charged up the stairs, found the woman and was attempting to carry her out unconscious just as Licato arrived with a hose line to help him.
“I saw her ankle hanging off the bed right near the floor and just crawled up to her face. I could see she was burned. But she did take a breath, so that led me to believe she had a chance to survive. So, I kicked it into higher gear and got her out of there,” Majka recalled.
Pressed on what went through his mind on that day, Majka said, “You do have to choke down that uncertainty and that fear and push forward. It’s only human to do that. But that’s what we do.”
For Licato, being called a hero wasn’t easy. He said he would “much rather be at the firehouse.”
The best part of Tuesday’s ceremony was bringing his sons, ages 2 and 4, to the fire academy.
“They’re very excited to be here…They love the Fire Department. This was a big day for them,” he said, to the squeals of his delighted children.
Honoring the First Responders of Edison Park
If you are an active or retired Chicago Police Officer, Chicago Firefighter, or Chicago Paramedic, you can purchase name space for $50.00. You must be an Edison Park resident. Edison Park boundaries: Harlem to Canfield/Ozanam and Howard to Higgins. Space can also be purchased in memory of a Chicago Police Officer, Chicago Firefighter, or Chicago Paramedic who was an Edison Park resident.
The fire hydrant will be on display in Edison Park for approximately six weeks and then will be auctioned off. ALL PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT THE 100 CLUB.
The deadline to purchase name space in October 21st. Click HERE to reserve space.
Below is a photo of another fire hydrant on display in Chicago! Click HERE to learn more about the Great Chicago Fire Hydrant Program!
Richard Milz via the Chicago Tribune
A South Side man has been charged with hitting a Chicago police officer in the head with a baseball bat as the officer tried to break up a fight in the West Englewood neighborhood over the weekend.
Tythia Thigpen, 29, of the 5700 block of South Winchester Avenue, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery to a peace officer and aggravated battery use of deadly weapon, police said. He is expected to appear in bond court today.
Thigpen was taken into custody around 8:30 p.m. Monday after surrendering at the Area South police station in the Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side.
The officer was struck around 12:40 a.m. Saturday in the 5700 block of South Winchester Avenue while trying to break up a fight possibly involving “dozens” of people, according to police sources.
The officer was taken in serious condition to Stroger Hospital and has been released. He is an Englewood District beat officer who joined the department in 2009, sources said.
Thigpen has an arrest record that includes murder charges in 2004, according to court documents. He was found not guilty and released in 2006. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine.
If you haven’t heard about the EZSave Card yet, which was started by a suburban police officer, check it out at ezsavecard.com. They just named the 100 Club a charitable partner!