Murdered CPD officer was working 'dream job'

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Murdered Chicago Police Officer John P.  Rivera

Chicago Police are pouring over hours of surveillance video and are questioning a person of interest as they try to identify the person that shot and killed an off-duty Chicago Police officer early Saturday morning.

Officers lined up outside Northwestern Memorial, where John Rivera, 23, died after being shot in the 700 block of N. Clark in the River North neighborhood.

"What we know about this incident so far is just really disgusting,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “This appears to be an unprovoked attack.”

After finishing a Friday shift, handling homicide paperwork, Rivera went to the night life district with another officer and two friends, according to police. Around 3:30 a.m., they got into his parked Honda Civic when police say three men walked up with one of them shooting directly into the car.

Rivera and another man in the car with him were rushed to the hospital. The other man, 23, was listed in critical condition.

"Detectives are working right now to trace the moves of these offenders. Mark my words, we will find them,” Johnson said.

In Rivera’s Hegewisch neighborhood, Ret. Sgt. John Sanchez began acting as a mentor to Rivera when he started asking him questions about how to become an officer when Rivera was 16 years old.

“He really wanted to be a police. When he told me he was in the academy, you couldn't have seen a kid with a bigger smile on his face,” Sanchez said.

Rivera had recently bought a home nearby, neighbors said, where a CPD squad car was parked in the driveway Saturday. 

Longtime friend Fred Vaino rushed to the hospital as soon as he heard about the shooting.

“It's been pretty surreal. It's not every day you wake up and find out something like this has happened,” he said. “He had a huge heart; he was super honest; real genuine [and] reliable.”

Police said whomever shot at Rivera's group did not demand the car or any property. They have not yet found the weapon used.