Vasquez Lasso Obituary – Death: Cause of Death, Officer Vasquez Lasso shot and killed in front of kids playing at school
According to witnesses, a shooting that took place in front of an elementary school in Gage Park, Chicago, where children were playing, left them hiding behind slides and any other available cover. “There were a lot of kids because it happened before school,” said a woman who called 911. “They went there to play. We thought it was safe there, so we just went and let them play there. But things have changed now.”
Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso, 32, was shot multiple times while pursuing an armed suspect identified by police as Steven Montano, 18, in the 5200 block of South Spaulding Avenue, across from Sawyer Elementary School at around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The woman said her 10-year-old sister was playing with other children when they saw the suspect holster his gun after shooting Vasquez-Lasso. When the girl called her family, she and other children heard gunshots and “ran to safety as fast as they could,” the woman said.
Despite his injuries, Vasquez-Lasso was able to return fire and hit Montano in the head, according to police. Montano was taken to Strogg Hospital in critical condition.
Late Thursday, police announced Montano was charged with felony counts of first-degree murder and aggravated disposal of a firearm near a school, as well as misdemeanor charges of simple assault and disrupting a domestic violence report.
Vasquez-Lasso was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he died, and where a somber crowd of officers gathered to pay their respects the night before his body was sent to the Cook County mortuary on the west side.
Maria Davila said she was at home watching a movie on her phone when the shooting occurred. It was nice outside, and the kids were hanging out at the playground across the street. Davila, 44, said she heard a loud bang and “thought it was fireworks at first.”
She went to the window and saw Montano clutching his chest and screaming in a parking lot next to the playground, and another man – Vasquez-Lasso – lying closer to the playground. “Shoot me, shoot me,” Montano yelled at a second officer standing between him and Vasquez-Lasso.
Behind them, several children hid behind blue slides and yellow plaques decorated with fish. “They were there for almost 20 minutes, watching what happened,” Davila said.
By the time she came down the stairs, officers had taken Vasquez-Lasso to a police van, where they were attempting to perform CPR. His body looked limp.
“We’re still scared,” Davila said Thursday. “It was moving to see that.”