Family, friends mourn loss of Cook County sheriff’s officer fatally shot at Christmas party

Sources tell WGN-TV  a suspect is being held in connection with the shooting death of an off-duty Cook County Sheriff’s investigator who was trying to protect his daughter from a robbery.

A squad car kept watch outside the Maywood home of Cook County Sheriff’s investigator Cuauhtemoc Estrada, 50, Saturday.  Christmas decorations are hanging with care, but the joy of the season is gone for relatives of the retired marine, father, grandfather, and 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s office.

COOK COUNTY OFFICER ESTRADA KILLED AT VFW HALL

“It just feels so unreal,” said Estrada’s 19-year old daughter, Christina. She wears a pendant with his badge number around her neck. He died while trying to protect her and her boyfriend.

“He was just a good person, a father.  He was always there for us. He always wanted us to succeed in life. Now, he’s not going to be there  to see me walk across the stage when I graduate college,” said Christina.

The party was Estrada’s idea. Since he had to work on Christmas, he wanted to bring the entire family together to celebrate a new tradition. Around 7:30 Friday night, Christina and her boyfriend were in the parking lot of the VFW Hall in Bellwood when two people in ski masks tried to rob them, police said.

Investigator Estrada saw what was happening and tried  to intervene. He was fatally shot before he could pull his service weapon, police said.  On Saturday,  investigators were back at the scene. Sources tell WGN-TV a suspect is in custody and was identified through surveillance video from the VFW Hall.

Statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office:

“It is with overwhelming sadness that we confirm Investigator Cuauhtemoc Estrada, age 50, was murdered this evening in Bellwood, while attending a family Christmas party. Investigator Estrada served our county for more than 20 years and our nation, as a former United States Marine.  He was an exceptional investigator, but an even better man who loved his family, his friends and his country.  Quite simply, he made this world a better place and will be missed by all whose lives he touched.  We are working with the Bellwood police on this ongoing investigation.”

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