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Fallen Chicago Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso Honored in Emotional Funeral – NBC Chicago

Officers from across the Chicago area and even the country joined hundreds of mourners Thursday as they said their final goodbyes to fallen Chicago police officer Andrés Mauricio Vásquez Lasso, who was killed in the line of duty last week.

A sea of uniforms filled the church, spilling out of the doors and into the streets as family, friends and supporters gathered to remember and honor the 32-year-old officer who was shot to death when a domestic violence call in the city led to an exchange of gunfire just outside of a children’s daycare.

Hundreds of Chicago police officers and law enforcement officials lined the streets of Chicago Thursday, as the body of Chicago Police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Gage Park last week, arrives at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel. Officers salute as they carry they body inside for the funeral.

The emotional service saw loved ones, fellow first responders and city officials remembering Vásquez Lasso for his dedicated service, his bravery, his love for his family and his passion for helping others.

“Eight days ago, the Chicago Police Department lost one of our finest, the district lost one of our bravest, the city of Chicago lost a guardian, a champion, a hero,” said Commander Bryan Spreyne from the 8th District, where Vásquez Lasso served.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown were among some of the notable names in attendance, with Brown leading the tributes during the service with a speech that spoke to the “despair” felt by many in the room.

“We’ll never forget the sacrifice that Andrés has made. In times like these, we are in despair. We don’t believe anyone really cares about the sacrifices that are made or knows the courage and the bravery it takes to constantly run towards danger,” Brown said. “We don’t know if anyone fully understands the trauma of seeing people at their absolute worst, or the horrors of seeing that mangled bodies, tortured souls. Do you really understand that we confront mainly violent people? Do you really want to see our pain? Our isolation due to being hyper vigilant all the time? Our grief is deep and dark. And seems hopeless. Another hero taken from us far too soon.”

Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown gave an emotional speech at the funeral of fallen officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso. “We’ll never forget the sacrifice that Andreas has made,” Brown said. “In times like these, we are in despair.” Watch his full speech here.

Those closest to Vásquez Lasso described some of his final words and moments, which carry a heavy weight as they remember his legacy and his sacrifice.

In one social media post, the young officer shared heartfelt words about his choice to protect and serve.

“Behind this uniform, there’s another human being just like you,” the post read. “This uniform doesn’t make me a robot. This uniform is not a symbol. This is not a symbol of us versus them. I hate injustice and lawlessness as well. That’s why I became a cop. Even though my actions will change the world. I can change the world of every person I get in contact with.”

“And that’s definitely what he did,” his friend and fellow officer Saùl Canterìa said during the service.

Vásquez Lasso was originally from Colombia, but came to the U.S. for a desire for “a better life,” with family remaining his “driving force.”

“He was a man who dedicated his life to serving and protecting the people of the city of Chicago. He loved his job, and he took great pride in being part of the Chicago Police Department,” said his cousin, another fellow officer, Jhon Vásquez, adding that “we’ll never forget you” and “we’ll never forget the sacrifices you made.”

Tears streamed down the faces of many in the church as Vásquez Lasso’s selfless spirit remained a theme by everyone who spoke about him.

PHOTOS: Chicago Police Officer Funeral, Procession For Andrés Vásquez Lasso

“Andrés was one of the bravest and most selfless individuals I’ve ever known. He was always willing to put himself in harm’s way to help others,” his cousin said.

In his final moments, that rang true.

His mother, father and wife sat near the front of the church, at times overcome with emotion.

In a moving social media post following her husband’s death, his wife, Milena Estepa, wrote that she was “grateful for every minute that God allowed” her to share with her husband.

“Thank you for being the best husband, dog father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend. You leave us an irremediable void in our hearts. Rest in peace my LOVE. Nalah and I will miss you every second of our lives. You are and always will remain a hero. ALWAYS REMEMBERED, NEVER FORGOTTEN.”

Just before a procession escorted Vásquez Lasso’s body to his final resting place, hundreds of officers stood silent, their hands at their heads in a final salute. It marked a somber moment that capped a solemnly beautiful tribute to a fallen hero.

“You told me in Chicago it gets too cold. You loved to travel to sunny places,” Canterìa said. “Well Vásquez, you are now in the sunniest place of all.”

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