Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 5 months, 27 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 7th District - Englewood
District of Incident (Present Day): 007 - Englewood
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 27
Date of Birth: 01 Feb 1982
Date of Appointment: 05 Dec 2005
Date of Incident: 01 Jun 2009
End of Watch: 01 Jun 2009
Date of Interment: 06 Jun 2009
Cemetery: Mount Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery - Berwyn, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-9
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 5, Line 13
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 11-W: 27
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Did Not Serve
Incident & Biographic Details
Police Officer Alejandro “Alex“ Valadez, Sr., Star #9534, aged 27 years, was a 3 year, 5 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 7th District – Englewood.
On June 1, 2009, at 12:12 a.m., Officer Valadez and his partner, Police Officer Thomas Vargas, were working the first watch on beat 706C in plain clothes. The officers responded to a call of “Shots Fired,” gang members hiding guns in a red garage located at 6027 South Hermitage. As Officers Valadez and Vargas were questioning several individuals in front of the address, a vehicle drove up and Shawn Gaston, age 20, of 6235 South Paulina Street, opened fire. Officer Valadez was shot once in the leg and once in the head; the bullet pierced through Valadez’s left ear and lodged in his brain. Gaston then fled the scene making good his escape. Officer Valadez was transported to Stroger Hospital of Cook County by CFD Ambulance #49 and was pronounced dead by Dr. Segovia at 2:40 p.m. on June 1, 2009.
Following the incident several pieces of evidence against Shawn Gaston and Kevin Walker were collected. However the big break in the case came from an Illinois State Trooper, who, by chance, had stopped Gaston and Walker the day before the shooting in a 2007 Pontiac G6, the same car detectives believed was used in the shooting. Gaston and Walker were stopped for a seat belt violation and issued a moving violation. The Trooper’s in car camera also videotaped the traffic stop. Detectives tracked down the ticket and contacted the State Police to inquire about whether there was a tape recording. The State Police confirmed and turned over the tape to investigators. The Department’s Targeted Response Unit later recovered the car. Recovered inside were three guns including one in the trunk of the car that detectives believed was the murder weapon. A shell casing was also recovered in the car, which matched those found at the crime scene. Shawn Gaston and Kevin Walker were later arrested and in a statement, Gaston admitted he was the shooter and that Walker was the driver of the car. Gunshot residue tests were conducted on Harris’ hand and they came back positive, while Walker’s fingerprint was found on a .40 caliber gun also used in the crime.
In September 2011, Gaston was convicted of the murder and attempted murder of Officer Valadez. He was subsequently sentenced to 125 years in prison. On October 9, 2013, Harris was convicted of murder and attempted murder as well as the getaway driver in the shooting, Kevin Walker, age 25.
Officer Valadez was waked at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 4727 West 103rd Street. His funeral mass was held at St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church located at 8200 South Kostner Avenue. He was laid to rest on June 6, 2009 in Mount Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery, 4101 Oak Park Avenue, Berwyn, Illinois.
Police Officer Alejando “Alex“ Valadez, Sr., born February 1, 1982, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on December 5, 2005. He earned 1 Department Commendation and 22 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Valadez was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Latin American Police Association. He was survived by his expectant fiancée, Christina Rodriguez (CPD), age 33; parents: Margarita (nee Garcia) and Rogelio, Sr., age 74; siblings, Adrian (CPD), Brenda (CPD) and Wilda Garcia. He was preceded in death by his brother, Rogelio, Jr. On September 9, 2009, his fiancée gave birth to a baby boy, Alejandro Valadez, Jr.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #HR351507.
On July 13, 2010, the 2600 block of West 26th Street was dedicated as “Honorary Officer Alejandro Valadez Avenue.” One brown honorary street sign was erected. The sign was located on the Southwest corner of 26th Street and Homan Avenue in the heart of the Little Village community where Officer Valadez grew up.