One year later, case remains open in shooting death of Austin police officer

December 29, 2012
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It’s been a year since Chicago police officer Clifton Lewis was gunned down during an armed robbery at an Austin convenience store.

Lewis, 41, was off-duty working his part-time security job at M&M Quick Foods near Division Street and Austin Boulevard on Dec. 29, 2011.

Two masked men with their guns drawn came to rob the store and fatally shot Lewis when he attempted to stop them.

Tyrone Clay, 30, was one of the gunmen.

The second unidentified gunman took Lewis’ service weapon, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters in early January.

Edgardo Colon, 35, drove the getaway car for the two gunmen and acted as a look-out, Alvarez said.

The second gunman and one other suspect remain at large, according to a recent ABC 7 news report.

In early November, the fallen officer’s semi-automatic handgun was found in an Austin apartment building.

The 19-year-old alleged gang member holding the gun at the apartment was charged with unlawful use of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm, ABC 7 reported.

Lewis, who served eight years with the Chicago Police Department, started working at the grocery store in early December to help save for his wedding, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Lewis proposed to his fiancé, Latrice Tucker, on Christmas day.

At Lewis’ Jan. 5 memorial service, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy remembered the 6-foot-5 officer as a ‘gentile giant.’

Officer Calvin Jones, Lewis’ partner, said he felt like he had lost a brother.

At the end of November, Lewis was the 483rd officer to have his star placed in the Honored Star Case, a memorial for every Chicago police officer who has died in the line of duty.

“Officer Lewis dedicated his life to service and upheld the greatest ideals of society and law enforcement,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement the day of the ceremony.

“As we honor officer Lewis’ commitment, professionalism, and ultimate sacrifice by encasing his star, we also commend the countless sacrifices police officers make daily to ensure our communities are safe and secure.”

Here’s a Chicago Tribune photo of Lewis’ family placing his star in the case.

Lewis worked on Austin’s 15th Police District’s tactical team. Before working to protect the Austin community, he served in the 8th and 11th Police Districts.

During his career, Lewis earned 81 awards, including 70 honorable mentions and four department commendations, among others.

A little more than a week after Lewis’ slaying, investigators on the case got lucky when Colon, a parolee, was caught making an improper turn in his vehicle. Police found a loaded .357-caliber handgun in the car, CBS Chicago reported.

Both Clay and Colon were formally charged with first-degree murder of a peace officer in February.

Their next court date is Jan. 22, according to information on the Cook County Sheriff’s website.

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