Chicago PD's COVID-related death toll rises to five

Officer Jose Huerta became the latest Chicago cop to die of complications from COVID-19

By Alice Yin
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer has died of complications from the coronavirus.

Jose Huerta, a 50-year-old from the Southwest Side, died of pneumonia from a COVID-19 infection Thursday afternoon, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. A police department spokesman declined to comment Saturday, but the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police posted on Facebook that Huerta died of COVID-19.

According to a Chicago police awards page, Huerta received recognition this July for a 2017 response that led to “a homicide offender … captured and removed from the streets of Chicago.”

At least four other Chicago police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, deaths that were added to the department’s Memorial Wall this fall.

A verified GoFundMe campaign set up for Huerta’s family, who called him “Joey,” says he was a devoted father and husband who loved to watch his daughter play softball and squeeze into kid-sized rides at amusement parks so he could ride next to his son. The fundraiser page also says he fought as hard as he could for weeks after learning of his prognosis.

“Joey was such a great dad and it is evident that he had such a positive impact on his kids because they both have huge hearts just like him and like their mom,” the GoFundMe says.

Next week, the police union is due to enter into arbitration over Chicago’s vaccine mandate for city employees, over which the FOP took the city to court.

[RELATED: COVID-19: Law enforcement deaths]

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