No bail for man charged with killing CPD officer; also arrested last year in connection to shooting
CHICAGO (CBS) -- The man accused of shooting and killing a Chicago police officer in Gage Park on Wednesday was ordered held without bail in bond court Friday.
Charges were filed against the suspect, 18-year-old Steven Montano, on Thursday evening in the death of Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso.
Montano is charged with one felony count each of first-degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and aggravated discharge of a firearm near a school – as well as misdemeanor counts of interfering with reporting domestic violence and simple assault.
In the hours after Officer Vasquez-Lasso was shot and killed, police Supt. David Brown said of the suspect, "What we know about the offender is he's 18 years old - not much of a criminal history."
But while Montano's rap sheet might be short, his reputation is big for all the wrong reasons, according to Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th).
"This gentleman is a known figure in his neighborhood," Lopez said. "His gang affiliation is well-known. The problems he causes are well-known."
Montano was arrested last summer, after running from a stolen car police suspected was linked to an earlier shooting in the Little Village neighborhood.
Chicago police arrested also Montano for felony aggravated battery with a firearm on July 28, 2022, according to CPD arrest records. However, the arrest report states Cook County prosecutors declined to press that aggravated battery charge, and instead only charged the man with misdemeanor obstructing/resisting a police officer.
According to the arrest report, around 8:10 p.m. on July 28, a 27-year-old man was shot twice in the leg in the 2600 block of West 23rd Place. The victim and witnesses told police three suspects fled the shooting in a white Honda Accord with tinted windows, and the driver was wearing a mask. The car had been stolen two days earlier, according to the police report on Montano 's arrest.
About an hour after the shooting, officers spotted the stolen Honda Accord near 26th and Whipple streets, with three people inside, and the driver wearing a mask.
The car fled when Chicago police tried to pull it over, before officers were finally able to stop the car near 74th Street and Parnell Avenue in Englewood, where all three people in the car ran off.
Montano was one of the three who ran off, and ignored officers' commands to stop, but was arrested without incident after police found him under the porch of a home on the same block where the car stopped.
Police also found two loaded handguns outside another home on the same block, "in the direct flight path of the offenders from the vehicle," according to the police report.
Police sought an aggravated battery with a firearm charge for the man, but prosecutors approved only a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
In a statement, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office said, "The defendant, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was not charged with a felony because the evidence does not support a charge of gun possession for this offender."
Lopez had more specifics about what he claimed Montano was involved in.
"Trying to teach a 15-year-old minor how to kill people for the gangs that they belong to. They were hunting gang members in Little Village," Lopez said. "He pleaded out for lesser charges - back out on the street, and we see what happened yesterday."
Prosecutors also said the driver of the vehicle has been charged with felony gun possession, and the case is still pending.
Meantime, Montano was offered "an alternative to traditional prosecution," due to his age and lack of any previous criminal record.
After completing a required 25 hours of community service, the resisting arrest charge was dropped on Nov. 17, 2022.
Prosecutors confirmed Montano is the same suspect now in custody for the shooting that killed Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso.
Lopez said Montano should have gone to prison for the earlier offense.
"Officer Lasso would be alive today if we put that gangbanger away, the way we should have when he was trying to indoctrinate a 15-year-old on how to kill the opposition," Lopez said.
On Wednesday night, two separate squad cars responded to a call about a man with a gun chasing a woman in the 5200 block of South Spaulding Avenue. We heard police radio reports indicating that the woman was the suspect's girlfriend, and he was chasing her down the street when someone called 911.
Police Supt. David Brown said Vasquez-Lasso pursued the suspect, who police knew had a gun.
Brown said the suspect shot the officer, who returned fire, striking each other at very close range. Vasquez-Lasso was shot in the face and leg. The officer's shooter was shot in the head.
It all happened inside the fence of an elementary school parking lot while kids were playing nearby. Outside the fence on Thursday, neighbors, members of law enforcement, and Chicagoans at large came to pay their respects.
A blue ribbon was flying at the scene on Thursday. The night before, it was wrapped up in yellow crime scene tape.
Meanwhile, new video taken by a witness shows Chicago Police trying to save Officer Vasquez-Lasso. We will not play the video in its entirety, out of respect for the officer and his family.
Maria Dabila lives across the street.
"I see one police on the floor," Dabila said. "I want to help the police, but how?"
Dabila watched from her window. She said she heard the suspect quarrel with officers.
"He don't get scared or nothing," she said. "He don't get – he don't have any feelings."
Dabila said she saw both Officer Vasquez-Lasso and the suspect on the ground. After that, she heard an exchange between the suspect and the officers.
"The guy who shoot, shoot, yeah, he was pushing the police," she said. "The police went to the back - the guy says to the police: 'Shoot me! Shoot me.'"
Vasquez-Lasso was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died from his injuries. Brown said the officer was part of CPD for five years and had a "bright future ahead of him."
CBS 2 spoke off camera with Montano's girlfriend. She told us she was not the one who made the 911 call, and said she was inside when she said she heard gunshots and ran out to see the suspect – her boyfriend – also shot.
Montano was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition and is currently in the ICU.
He is due back in court on March 22.
for more features.