Water bottle, DNA, fingerprints led to arrest of Chicago police officer Luis Huesca's accused killer, police say (2024)

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By Todd Feurer, Sara Machi, Sabrina Franza, Mugo Odigwe

/ CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) --A water bottle, DNA, and fingerprint evidence helped detectives track down the accused killer of Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca, police said on Friday.

Xavier Tate Jr., 22,was arrested on Wednesday in west suburban Glendale Heights, more than a week after Huesca, a six-year Chicago Police Department veteran, wasshot and killed returning home from his shifton April 21 in the 5500 block of South Kedzie Avenue.

"Tate, in a manner of seconds, took the life of someone who was trying to make our city better and safer through kindness and compassion," Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling said Friday morning.

Huesca was two days away from his 31st birthday at the time. While Huesca was still in uniform at the time he was killed, police said they do not have any evidence that Tate specifically targeted him because he was a police officer.

Water bottle, DNA, fingerprints led to arrest of Chicago police officer Luis Huesca's accused killer, police say (2)

Snelling noted Tate was arrested just two days afterHuesca's funeral.

"This past week has been unimaginable for the family of Officer Huesca. Amidst their grief, they faced the additional burden of knowing his killer was still free. That changed on Wednesday night," Snelling said.

Mayor Brandon Johnson said Huesca's death has been a "tragic loss" for the city, and said he was grateful "we are moving with expediency to bring justice to the Huesca family."

"We grieve together as we still struggle with this loss," he said. "The brave women and men who serve to protect and to build a better, stronger, safer Chicago, I'm grateful for their service."

Suspect arrested after multi-state manhunt

Tatewas scheduled to make his first court appearance on Fridayon charges of first-degree murder, aggravated vehicular hijacking, and possession of a stolen firearm. Police said he took Huesca's service weapon after killing him, and fled the scene in Huesca's car.

"These charges reflect the severity of the actions that led to the tragic death of a man who served this city with integrity and with bravery," Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said.

Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Antoinette Ursitti said police were able to track down Tate during a multi-state manhunt, in part due to video evidence collected from more than 90 locations after Huesca was killed.

Water bottle, DNA, fingerprints led to arrest of Chicago police officer Luis Huesca's accused killer, police say (3)

Video from the area of the shooting helped detectives track Tate to a business where he bought a bottle of water using a relative's bank card.

When police located Huesca's stolen vehicle after the shooting, that water bottle and clothing Tate was wearing at the time of the shooting was found near the car. Tate's DNA also was found in the vehicle, and his fingerprints were found on a fence he jumped over after the shooting.

Meantime, Ursitti said detectives followed leads that Xavier Tate might have fled to Wisconsin or Iowa after the shooting, and ultimately tracked him to an apartment in west suburban Glendale Heights, where he was arrested on Wednesday. Sources have told CBS 2 News that Tate had been staying at the Glendale Heights apartment with his brother.

Snelling said police officers used Huesca's handcuffs to take Tate into custody.

"Luis was with them," Snelling said.

Ursitti said a person Tate was staying with in Glendale Heights has been charged in DuPage County with concealing and aiding a fugitive. Malik Murphy made his first court appearance on Friday on a felony charge of concealing or aiding a fugitive, and was released from custody, as the charge is a non-detainable offense, according to the DuPage County State's Attorney. He is due back in court on May 28.

It was not clear when police figured out Tate was hiding out there, but according to DuPage County court documents, Murphy had been helping him hide out in Glendale Heights since Monday.

Neighbor Chris Gayton said Tate had stopped by the Glendale Heights apartment building a couple of days before Tate's arrest. Gayton said he spoke to Tate just this week, unaware that Tate was wanted.

Meantime, other evidence collected before Xavier Tate's arrest led police to the home of a relative, Caschaus Tate, who tossed Huesca's gun over a neighbor's fence when detectives showed up at his Morgan Park home looking for Xavier.

Caschaus Tate, 20, has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and was in court on Friday for a status hearing. He is due back in court on May 16. Police have confirmed Caschaus and Xavier are related, but said they cannot confirm if the two are blood relatives.

"I cannot stress enough the great and meticulous work done by our detectives and CPD members during this investigation," Ursitti said.

Huesca's mother, Edith, spoke of the family's grief as Tate made his first court appearance on Friday.

"I just want to say all of you and all the people that have supporting us in this horrible pain, it is very sad, the loss of my lovely son. Thank you so much for your supporting our family, and we ask to express or share that we are very sad. I can say my son was a good police officer, he was a good brother, a good example, because nobody can say anything different," she said. "He made his work the best that he can."

Huesca's brother, Emiliano Huesca Jr., said Tate's arrest brings a small sense of relief to the family.

"I know it's going to be a couple more harder days to go along afterwards. I just want everyone to know that there will be justice done for my brother, and I want that justice to be done and put our family at least at peace," he said. "Our brother was an exemplary person, a person that would help anyone, a very forgiving person, and from his interactions he had with other people, he always made a best effort to make a good impression about the police with other people. … I hope my brother gets that justice that he deserves."

  • Chicago
  • Shooting
  • Chicago Police Department
  • Murder

Todd Feurer

Todd Feurer is a web producer at CBS News Chicago. He has previously written for WBBM Newsradio, WUIS-FM, and the New City News Service.

Water bottle, DNA, fingerprints led to arrest of Chicago police officer Luis Huesca's accused killer, police say (2024)
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