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Suspected Cop Killer Would Have Been In Jail But Prosecutors Refused To File Felony Charges

Chicago, IL – The gunman accused of murdering Chicago Police Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso during a foot chase on Wednesday previously faced charges after running from a vehicle that was linked to a shooting, but prosecutors ultimately dismissed them.

Steven Montano, 18, remains hospitalized in critical condition after the fatal March 1 shooting of Officer Vasquez-Lasso, according to WGN.

Despite being shot in his face and leg, the mortally-wounded 32-year-old officer managed to return fire and hit Montano in the head, WLS reported.

Officer Vasquez-Lasso was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The married father-of-one served the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for five years.

Montano has been charged with multiple counts in connection with the deadly shooting, including first-degree murder, interfering with reporting domestic violence, and aggravated discharge of a firearm, FOX News reported.

Court documents revealed the March 1 shooting was not Montano’s first run-in with police.

This past summer, he and two other suspects were arrested by Chicago police after they took off running from a stolen vehicle that was allegedly involved in a shooting incident in the Little Village neighborhood, WGN reported.

Cook County State’s Attorney Office Kim Foxx’s Felony Review team refused to file felony charges against Montano, but he was ultimately charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.

Prosecutors offered him an alternative to traditional prosecution on the misdemeanor charge due to his lack of criminal history and his age, WGN reported.

Montano completed 25 hours of community service, so Foxx’s office dropped the misdemeanor count altogether.

Foxx’s spokesperson told WGN there was not sufficient evidence to charge Montano with felony offenses in connection with the earlier shooting, but noted the two other people he was arrested with were charged.

The latest incident with Montano occurred in the 5200-block of South Spaulding Avenue at approximately 4:45 p.m. on March 1, WLS reported.

Chicago police said they responded to the area after receiving a report about a man armed with a gun who was chasing a woman down the street.

While other officers were knocking on doors, Officer Vasquez-Lasso spotted the alleged gunman running away, WLS reported.

The officer chased after him on foot, at which point Montano turned and shot him “without warning or notice,” CPD Superintendent David Brown told reporters.

Despite his wounds, the officer was able to return fire and shot the suspect in the head, WLS reported.

The shooting, which happened at close range, was captured by Officer Vasquez-Lasso’s bodycam, according to Superintendent Brown.

Montano was rushed to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Officer Vasquez-Lasso suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his leg and face during the attack, CBS News reported.

The 32-year-old officer was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Superintendent Brown reiterated that the officers who responded to the call on Wednesday night “were willing to put their lives on the line to protect this victim,” CBS News reported.

Officer Vasquez-Lasso served the CPD for five years and was assigned to the department’s Eighth District.

“I ask that this city cover this officer’s family,” Superintendent Brown said, according to WLS. “This is a family of public servants and as you can imagine, they are taking this tragedy, very, very hard.”

Officer Vasquez-Lasso is survived by his wife and his young daughter, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Superintendent Brown described him as a young officer who “had a bright future ahead of him,” WMAQ reported.

A massive procession of first responders escorted the fallen hero’s body from Mount Sinai Hospital to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday night.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers lined the route.

“I want to remind people that every single day, on every shift, officers run to danger for our safety,” Chicago Mayor Lightfoot said during the news conference on Wednesday night, according to CBS News. “If you see an officer tonight, or the next day, or the day after that, thank them for their service.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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