Durbin Honors Memory Of Fallen Chicago Police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso

Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso was shot and killed last week while responding to a domestic violence call that ended in a shoot-out at a nearby playground

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor honoring the memory of Chicago Police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso, who was killed while responding to a domestic violence call that ended in a chase and an exchange of gunfire with the suspect.  He was a resident of the Southside neighborhood that he served in.

“The City of Chicago, which I represent, is a city in mourning today.  Last Wednesday, Chicago Police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso was killed while responding to a domestic violence 911 call… Officer Vásquez Lasso was 32 years old and had been on the police force for five years,” Durbin began. 

“The man accused of killing him is 18 years old. Officer Vásquez Lasso had chased this man a short distance on foot when the man reportedly turned on him, pointed a gun at him, and killed him.  That chase ended on the playground of an elementary school in the City of Chicago, where neighborhood kids were playing,” said Durbin.  “As the bullets flew, the children took cover under slides and other playground equipment. Officer Vásquez Lasso was shot three times in the arm, leg, and head.  He was the first Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty since Officer Ella French was murdered 18 months ago during a traffic stop.”

Durbin went on to honor Officer Vásquez Lasso for pursuing a career in public service while highlighting the effort it took for Officer Vásquez Lasso to become a U.S. citizen prior to joining the police force.  

“I want to say clearly for the record something that needs to be said.  Officer Vásquez Lasso was an immigrant to this country.  He came here from Colombia.  He became a citizen and he became a police officer, and he gave his life for the people who live in this country,” Durbin continued.

 Durbin expressed his gratitude for the way the Chicago community has come together to remember Officer Vásquez Lasso.

“Several vigils have been held around the City of Chicago since his death.  The largest was a candlelight prayer vigil in Hale Park, attended by the officer's wife and mother.  Hundreds of police officers, community members, and friends came out to pay their respect.  A friend at the prayer vigil recalled that Officer Vásquez Lasso ‘was always a proper man.’  A fellow officer said he was always smiling.  Today, a memorial stands on the block where he was shot down.  People drop off flowers and notes and other tributes.  A rosary hangs on a fence.  All flags have been ordered to fly at half-staff until Officer Vásquez Lasso is laid to rest Thursday,” Durbin continued.

Durbin spoke further, emphasizing the growing danger of responding to emergency calls as guns remain easily accessible to those who should not be trusted with them. 

“These are especially difficult times to be in law enforcement.  A growing arsenal of high-powered guns in the hands of criminals and domestic abusers makes policing more dangerous than ever.  Domestic violence calls are always fraught with danger for police, victims, and innocent bystanders,” Durbin said.  

“For the sake of the law enforcement officers who protect our communities, and the victims of violence, we must do more to break the cycle of violence that kills far too many, and leaves many more scarred,” Durbin said.  “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that Congress passed last year in the wake of the horrific Uvalde school shooting made important progress, but more is needed to protect our communities and our law enforcement officers from gun violence.”

Durbin concluded by offering his condolences to the family and fellow police officers of Officer Vásquez Lasso. 

“In closing, I want to offer by condolences to Officer Vásquez Lasso’s family – especially his wife, Milena Estepa, his mother, Rocio Lasso, and his sister and niece, as well as his fellow officers of the Chicago Police Department, and his many friends,” said Durbin.  “Officer Vásquez Lasso gave his life protecting his community.  He was protecting the children on that playground and the families living in the community that he personally called home.  We join the City of Chicago in saluting his courage and mourning his loss.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.