Chicago Police attend graduation for son of fallen officer
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The son of a fallen Chicago Police officer was surrounded Friday by the top brass at his kindergarten graduation on Chicago's East Side.
Alejandro "Alex" Valadez Sr. was in kindergarten when he knew he wanted to be a Chicago Police officer. He couldn't be at his son's graduation Friday, and never got to meet his son but there were several stand-ins of note.
Police superintendent Eddie Johnson and other officers were in attendance to support Alejandro "Alex" Valadez Jr. while a CPD helicopter made a ceremonial pass overhead.
"He [Valadez Sr.] made the ultimate sacrifice and we need his family to know and we need Chicago to know that we will never forget because he did make the ultimate sacrifice," Johnson said. "And it's just a shame that his son has to grow up without even knowing him because someone decided to use a gun."
Three months before Alex was born in 2009, his 27-year-old father was shot and killed in the city's Englewood neighborhood while investigating a report of shots fired.
Tom Vargas was Valadez' partner and was there the night he was killed.
"He was really excited. He carried his ultrasound photo with him. We both have boys," Vargas said.
"He is a character. He's got the smile. He has charisma," Vargas said. "It's like looking at a mini-me of his dad."
Valadez's police officer sister, Brenda Valadez, said she and two of her siblings became cops because they wanted to make a difference.
One of the Valadez brothers was killed by a gang member. Alejandro Valadez was the second of the siblings to be shot to death, Brenda Valadez said.
"He was always the life of the party," Brenda Valadez said of her baby brother.
A Chicago Police officer gone but never forgotten. A reminder of his spirit shines bright in Alex Jr.
Valadez's killers were all convicted and sentenced for their role in his murder.
In 2010, the state's attorney's office drafted and helped pass the "Valadez Law," which mandates a prison sentence for unlawful possession of a firearm by a gang member.