Cuauhtemoc Estrada, 50, witnessed an armed robbery taking place in the parking lot of the VFW and was shot in the chest when he tried to intervene. Estrada reportedly saw two men, both wearing ski masks, approach his 19-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, attempting to rob them as they carried food into the hall.
Estrada, a former Marine who served in Desert Storm and a 20-year veteran of the police force, was off duty but armed. As he drew his weapon, he was gunned down. Paramedics rushed Estrada to Loyola University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just after 8 p.m. Friday.
The attack occurred less than two miles from the Maywood block where Estrada lived with his family. Known as “Temo,” Estrada had four children and three grandchildren.
Daughter Christina, who was confronted by the robbers, described her dad as a devoted father. “He was always there for us… Now he’s not going to be able to see me walk across the stage when I graduate college,” said a distraught Christina. “It just seems so unreal.”
Estrada’s former sister-in-law, Patty Santamaria, said he was a force for good in the community. “Not just his own family but his entire community,” she said. “He fought hard to clean up his own streets.”
Ben Breit, a spokesman for the Illinois Sheriff’s office, had this to say about his coworker:
“(Estrada) was an exceptional investigator, but an even better man who loved his family, his friends and his country. Quite simply, he made this world a better place and will be missed by all whose lives he touched.”
Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart said investigators were following several leads but have not made any arrests.