Deputy Fatally Shot Going For His Gun To Save Daughter
A Cook County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot by masked robbers was going for his gun when the killers got the drop on him.
The tragedy took place Friday evening in the Chicago suburb of Bellwood.
Cuauhtemoc Estrada, a 50-year-old father of four, was doing what any father would do, trying to protect his daughter, when he was killed outside the Bellwood Veterans of Foreign Wars hall where he was playing host for his family’s Christmas party, according to a report in The Chicago Tribune.
The 20-year sheriff’s department veteran, known as “Temo” to friends and family, stepped into the VFW Hall parking lot at around 7:30 when he witnessed two masked men attempting to rob his 19-year-old daughter Christina and her boyfriend.
Though off duty at the time, Estrada confronted the robbers and reached to draw his sidearm. At least one of the robbers shot first, striking Estrada in the chest.
He was sped to nearby Loyola University Medical Center but it was too late. The grandfather of three was pronounced dead at 8:08 pm.
Witnesses said anywhere from two to four men fled the scene after the shooting, but as of Saturday morning, police had no suspects, according to Bellwood’s Public Safety Director Andre Harvey, who spoke to Chicago’s Channel 5 News.
Harvey said that whether the deputy fatally shot was attempting to stop the robbers with his service weapon, or his own personal gun has yet to be determined.
“He was always there for us,” said his daughter Christina, in tears, interviewed by the Tribune. “Now he’s not going to be able to see me walk across the stage when I graduate college. It just seems so unreal.”
The incident served as both a devastating and yet fitting way to go for the civic-minded Estrada, who was dedicated to improving his community not only through law enforcement but through such constructive activities as organizing block parties, even delivering coffee and doughnuts to neighborhood residents.
Estrada devoted himself to the protection of “not just his own family but his entire community,” his former sister-in-law, Patty Santamaria, said. “He fought hard to clean up his own streets.”
A former Marine, Estrada served in Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 War against Iraq, before becoming a Cook County deputy.
Estrada was the second sheriff’s deputy fatally shot in just two days. On Thursday, The Associated Press reports, a team of Burleson County, Texas deputies was attempting to serve a warrant at house in Somerville, a rural town 90 miles northwest of Houston, when gunfire erupted.
Deputy Sgt. Adam Sowders, 31, was struck and killed in the exchange.