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3 being questioned as slain Chicago cop is laid to rest

Funeral for Chicago Police officer CliftLewis United Missionary Baptist Church 4242 W. Roosevelt. Thursday January 5 2012. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Funeral for Chicago Police officer Clifton Lewis at the United Missionary Baptist Church, 4242 W. Roosevelt. Thursday, January 5, 2012. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 7, 2012 8:19AM

As police questioned three suspects in the killing of Officer Clifton Lewis, the slain officer was eulogized Thursday morning as a good man and good cop who died far too young.

And his fiancée had a message for whoever pulled the trigger.

“For today and every other day ... the person who was trifling enough and ornery enough to take that person that everyone loved ... It’s not over. It’s not over,” said Latrice Tucker at her fiance’s funeral on the West Side.

After the service, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy had his own message regarding the gunmen.

“We’re going to get ‘em. Make no mistake.”

When asked if he had evidence to back the claim, McCarthy said, “I have 13,000 Chicago police.”

Hundreds of officers in dress uniforms looked on and saluted as Lewis’ casket, draped in a Chicago city flag, was carried in to United Baptist Church Thursday morning, the mournful dirge of bagpipes filling the air.

“What happened the other night darkens all our lives,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who spoke at the funeral along with Gov. Pat Quinn. “His beat was one of the most difficult and dangerous on the force,” said Emanuel.

Lewis was working a second job as a convenience-store security guard when he was fatally shot during a robbery last week in the Austin neighborhood.

Tucker recalled Thursday how she pleaded with Lewis not to go to work the night he was killed. “No, no, no. It’s your off day.” she said. Lewis told her he’d only be gone for three hours and told his fiance, “Sweetheart, I’ll be back.”

But “he didn’t come back,” said Tucker.

Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that police have three suspects in custody at a Northwest Side police station.

No charges have been filed.

A clerk was also shot in the holdup, in which about $200 was stolen. The clerk was treated at a hospital and released, sources said.

Sources said Lewis fired his handgun before he was fatally wounded. Police believe Lewis was shot by a TEC-9 semiautomatic pistol. Neither Lewis’ gun nor the murder weapon has been recovered, sources said.

The store was also robbed weeks before Lewis’ slaying, officials said.

Lewis, who had served in the Chicago Police Department for eight years, was 41 and had proposed to his longtime girlfriend just four days earlier — on Christmas Day. She said yes.

On Thursday, Tucker said the biggest part of the six foot five inch Lewis was his heart.

“He never raised his voice, he never argued, he never shouted. He would just tap me on the shoulder and say ‘sweetheart, you got it.’”

She said Lewis was a competitive ‘Words With Friends’ player and once had his police partners pull her over as a joke.

“I will not say goodbye to you today,” said an emotional Tucker. “I’m just going to say ‘See you later,’ because that’s what he said when he left out of the door. I’ll see you later.”

McCarthy told the slain officer’s family: “We are indebted to you. ... I promise we will not tire until we find and hold those responsible for this senseless act.”

A total of $33,000 in reward money has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

After the funeral service, the bagpipes played again, and a police helicopter performed a flyby as Lewis’ casket was loaded into a hearse.

Once again, hundreds of police officers in dress uniforms saluted.

Police sharpshooters perched on nearby rooftops also looked on — a normal precaution, according to a police spokesman.

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