Family of slain Chicago police officer tells city mayor to stay away from funeral

Huesca’s mother said that Chicago’s mayor was ‘unwelcome’ at her son’s funeral, leading to the mayor to change his plans in attending

Amelia Neath
Tuesday 30 April 2024 16:20 BST
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Law enforcement, family and friends remember CPD Officer Luis M Huesca

The mother of a Chicago police officer who was killed two weeks ago told the city’s mayor to stay away from her son’s funeral on Monday.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in the streets on Monday to watch the funeral procession to St Rita Cascia Shrine Chapel in Chicago, where friends and family said their goodbyes to 30-year-old police officer Luis M Huesca, who was fatally shot on 21 April.

Just two days shy of his 31st birthday, Huesca was shot multiple times shortly before 3am while he was heading home from his shift on Chicago’s southwest side. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

While his family and former colleagues attended the funeral, the officer’s mother told Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson he was “unwelcome” at her son’s send-off.

Huesca’s “grief-stricken” mother asked Representative Angelica Guerro-Cuellar and Illinois Comptroller Susana A Mendoza at her son’s visitation on Sunday to tell the Chicago Mayor that he was not welcome at the funeral and asked him to honour her wishes, Ms Mendoza wrote on X.

The family of Luis M Huesca follow his casket inside St Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel on Monday
The family of Luis M Huesca follow his casket inside St Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel on Monday (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

She added that she and Ms Guerro-Cuellar called the governor to pass on the mother’s request.

Mayor Johnson’s initial schedule released on Sunday night showed that he would be attending the funeral, but in an update sent to reporters Monday morning, he said his plans had changed and he would not be present.

“We continue to send our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Officer Luis Huesca as they heal from the loss of their beloved son, nephew, brother and friend,” Mr Johnson said in a written statement.

“As mayor, I vow to continue supporting our police and first responders, uniting our city and remaining committed to working with everyone towards building a better, stronger, safer Chicago.”

“My heart is with the Huesca family today. God bless them and God bless the City of Chicago,” the mayor concluded.

After his change in schedule, Ms Mendoza praised the Mayor on X for respecting the Huesca family’s wishes.

Illinois’ governor JB Pritzker, who ordered flags in the state to fly at half-staff in remembrance of Huesca after his death, also did not have the officer’s funeral on his public schedule, according to local reports.

“It is really up to the family whether they want the attention that comes with – and all of the hullabaloo – that comes with public officials attending,” Mr Pritzker told reporters at an unrelated news conference on Monday, according to theChicago Sun-Times.

“So I always follow the request of the family to do whatever makes them most comfortable.”

Huesca’s family, close friends and colleagues all spoke at Huesca’s funeral, remembering the six-year veteran as a loving son, brother, uncle and member of the force who always tried to brighten his fellow officer’s days.

Chicago Police Superintendant Larry Snelling told ABC7 on Monday that Huesca’s funeral was all about focusing on their fallen officer, not any “politics” that has cropped up around the funeral.

"I’m not going to get into politics or anything surrounding this funeral. I am not going to take away from the real focus here and the real focus is that of Officer Luis Huesca and his family," Mr Snelling said.

Cardinal Blase Cupich (third from left) attended the funeral for Huesca on Monday
Cardinal Blase Cupich (third from left) attended the funeral for Huesca on Monday (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

“Last week, Officer Huesca’s family had also informed the governors’ team that they did not want him to attend the funeral. The governor saying today that a lot of times, families do not want the complications that come from political figures attending funerals, and he always does what the family requests,” he added.

Following the death of the officer, a reward of $100,000 is currently being offered for information leading to the arrest of a man identified by police as Xavier L Tate Jr in connection to the murder.

"He was working hard out there to keep communities and to keep people safe, and today that officer was a victim of the type of crime that he was working against to keep people safe in this city," Mr Snelling said of Huesca at a press conference after his death.

Huesca was born in the Avondale area of Chicago. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Illinois in Chicago before joining the police force, his obituary stated.

He is survived by his parents, Emiliano and Edith Huesca, his sister, Liliana O’Brien and brother, Emiliano Huesca Jr.

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