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Slain Officer's Son, Born Months After His Death, Graduates Kindergarten

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It was no ordinary kindergarten graduation at Annunciata School in Englewood Friday morning.

The ceremony featured an honor guard, police horses, a Chicago fire engine, and a helicopter flyover for 6-year-old Alex Valadez Jr. and his classmates.

Alex's father, Officer Alejandro "Alex" Valadez Sr. was killed in the line of duty in 2009, three months before his son was born. His fellow officers stood in for him at his son's kindergarten graduation, including Police Supt. Eddie Johnson.

"He was a part of CPD family then, he's a part of the CPD family now, and will be a part of the CPD family forever," Johnson said.

Chicago police out in force for Alex Jr.'s graduation. (Credit; Lisa Fielding)

Valadez, 27, was gunned down while working in West Englewood, where he was investigating reports of gunfire. Three reputed gang members were convicted of murder and sentenced to more than 100 years in prison each.

After Alex Jr. received his diploma, he walked down the aisle and met his mother who put him in his father's uniform.

"It was bittersweet. Glad to be able to be here for the family," said Valadez's former partner, Office Thomas Vargas, who's also Alex Jr.'s godfather. "Being part of the police department, we are all a big family, we are here for them."


Vargas was with Valadez the night he was killed.

"He's with us all. The anniversary was just two days ago, so it's kinda close. Alex Jr. is just like his dad; his character, he's got the smile, it's like looking at a mini me of his dad," Vargas said.

"I'm certain this isn't the kindergarten graduation you expected, but it's a special occasion nonetheless," said Annunciata principal Edward Renas. "Congratulations Class of 2016."

Alex Valdez Jr. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

The Chicago Police Department even surprised Alex Jr. with a brand new bike.

He might have never known his father, but for Alex Jr., it was a day he won't soon forget.

"It was so cool; the best day ever," he said.

Alez Valadez Jr Horses
Alex Valadez Jr. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)
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