Deputy Fatally Shot In Illinois

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A Cook County sheriff was shot and killed in Bellwood, IL while attempting to protect his daughter and her boyfriend during a robbery at gunpoint.

Sheriff Cuauhtemoc Estrada, a former Marine, stepped outside from a family Christmas party at the Bellwood Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, Friday evening around 7:30, to find his daughter and her boyfriend being robbed by two people in ski masks. The two robbers threatened the victims with a gun as they were carrying food from their car, according to authorities and relatives

Estrada pulled his weapon in an effort to intervene and was shot in the chest. He was then rushed to Loyola University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just a half hour later, at 8:08 pm.

Sheriff Tom Dart said early this morning that investigators were following several leads but his office released no details. The criminals are still on the loose.

Estrada's family of four children, three grandchildren and a neighborhood of others are devastated.

The daughter who Estrada made the valiant effort to rescue, Christina Estrada, 19, was in deep despair and crying when talking with reporters, holding onto a necklace her father had bought her, and friends say she never took off - a pendant in the shape of a miniature gold Cook County Sheriff's badge with her father's badge number.

Christina described her dad as a devoted father. "He was always there for us."

"Now he's not going to be able to see me walk across the stage when I graduate college." said a distraught Christina. "It just seems so unreal."

Estrada's former sister-in-law, Patty Santamaria, said he dedicated his life to protecting people. "Not just his own family but his entire community," she said. "He fought hard to clean up his own streets."

When Estrada was shot, Santamaria was on her way to the party with his youngest daughter, who is 13.

"I had to tell her," Santamaria said.

Ben Breit, a spokesman for the Sheriff's office had this to say about Estrada:

"(Estrada) was an exceptional investigator, but an even better man who loved his family, his friends and his country. Quite simply, he made this world a better place and will be missed by all whose lives he touched."

Image via YouTube

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