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Off-duty Cook Co. sheriff’s officer killed trying to stop robbery

Updated: December 21, 2013 5:34PM

An off-duty Cook County sheriff’s officer was fatally shot outside a family holiday party Friday night while trying to stop an attempted armed robbery in Bellwood.

Cuauhtemoc Estrada, 50, was shot about 9:15 p.m. outside a family Christmas party at a VFW hall in the 200 block of 30th Avenue, officials said.

Estrada had come outside the hall when he saw an attempted robbery in progress and tried to break it up, officials said.

“The offender shot him and killed him,” Sheriff Tom Dart said.

He was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he died at 10:08 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Estrada, of Maywood, worked as an investigator for the county for more than two decades and was a former U.S. Marine, officials said.

“He was an exceptional investigator, but an even better man who loved his family, his friends and his country,” Dart said in a statement. “Quite simply, he made this world a better place and will be missed by all whose lives he touched.”

A procession of more than a dozen vehicles followed an ambulance with Estrada from Loyola Hospital to the county medical examiner’s office at 2121 W. Harrison St. He arrived at the medical examiner’s office at about midnight.

Early Saturday, family and friends were seen consoling each other outside the slain officer’s home.

A sheriff’s deputy was parked across the street to ensure the family was mourning in privacy.

A relative who answered the door said Estrada was a grandfather to three girls and he had four kids.

“He was a wonderful grandfather,” the relative said through tears. She declined to give her name.

She said he loved to spend time with his family.

The woman then had to close the door because she was so overwhelmed with emotion.

Contributing: Mitch Armentrout, Sam Charles and Luke Wilusz

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