Man who allegedly killed a Chicago police officer Wednesday was arrested last summer, but prosecutors rejected felony charges

Update 7:45 a.m. – The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the officer as Andrés Vásquez Lasso, 32.

A Chicago police officer was killed Wednesday in a close-range exchange of gunfire with a man while investigating a domestic altercation in Gage Park, officials said. The 18-year-old man who allegedly shot the officer received a gunshot wound to his head and remains hospitalized in critical condition.

CWB Chicago has learned that the 18-year-old was arrested last summer after police said he and two other people ran from a car that had just been used in a shooting. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office rejected felony charges against him but approved charges against the other two people.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said the slain officer had been with the department for five years. Records from the Chicago Office of Inspector General show that no complaints had been filed against the officer during his time on the force.

Armed domestic

Around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, four officers responded to a call of a man chasing a woman with a gun in the 5200 block of South Spaulding during a domestic altercation, police said. Officers saw the 18-year-old man running from the scene, and they chased after him, according to a CPD media statement.

The statement said that the 18-year-old fired his weapon, striking the officer multiple times, and the officer returned fire, striking the man in the head. Police recovered the man’s handgun at the scene, according to CPD. We are not identifying the man by name because he has not been criminally charged. CPD has not publicly identified the fallen officer.

Summertime shooting

Last summer, witnesses to a shooting in Little Village told police that a white Honda with three Hispanic male occupants pulled up next to the victim and began shooting, prosecutors said during bail hearings for the 18-year-old and the driver last year. The victim, a 29-year-old man, was shot twice in the leg.

A Chicago police homicide support team that responded to the shooting saw a stolen car matching the shooters’ vehicle running stop signs and red lights while being driven by a man wearing a ski mask, the prosecutors said.

When the car stopped, three people allegedly ran from it: the 18-year-old involved in Wednesday’s shooting, a 15-year-old boy, and a 22-year-old man.

Police arrested the two adults on opposite sides of the same street a short time later. Prosecutors said police found two firearms along the path they followed while running from officers. A CPD arrest report for the 18-year-old said the guns were found by Illinois State Police canines in a yard three houses down from where officers found him hiding under a porch. The report also said he was a Latin King gang member.

During the 22-year-old’s bail hearing, a prosecutor said the guns were found in a yard where a police helicopter crew saw the 22-year-old make a “throwing gesture” while running.

He was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, fleeing and eluding, and resisting. He paid a $200 bail deposit to get out of jail and is now facing additional charges for allegedly robbing a woman while having a gun in his getaway car just three weeks later, according to court records.

Prosecutors charged the 15-year-old with aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and criminal trespass to a vehicle.

Chicago police detectives asked prosecutors to charge the 18-year-old with aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and criminal trespass to a vehicle, CPD records show. But the state’s attorney’s office rejected those charges, leaving the man to face a single misdemeanor count of resisting police, according to the records.

During his bail hearing for the resisting charge, an assistant state’s attorney and the judge both noted that the state’s attorney’s office felony review unit rejected charges against the 18-year-old, who has no criminal convictions in his background.

“I read the arrest report,” Judge Barbara Dawkins said during the hearing. “It has a lot about what he’s not being charged with and not much about what he is being charged with.”

“So, essentially,” Dawkins summarized, “he’s being charged with running from the police … He is not charged with the weapons. He is not charged with the shooting.”

She released him on his own recognizance, and prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charge in November, court records show.

In a tweet on Wednesday night, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said, “Today, the Chicago Police Department suffered the tragic loss of one of its own police officers in the line of duty in Gage Park. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office stands with the Chicago Police Department and the families of those officers in their time of mourning.”

“As the offender is currently hospitalized for injuries sustained in the exchange of gunfire, we will work with our CPD partners on charges when appropriate. @SAKimFoxx”

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com