Prosecutors said Valadez, a tactical officer who had been with the department for less than four years, was fatally shot in the head and leg as two of the three alleged gang members opened fire from a car. They were seeking revenge for a shooting a short time earlier.
One of the two juries had begun deliberations Tuesday, been sequestered overnight and reached its verdict Wednesday morning, convicting Kevin Walker, 25, the alleged driver, of first-degree murder as well as the attempted murder of Valadez’s police partner, Thomas Vargas.
The second jury deliberated for about six hours Wednesday before finding Christopher Harris, 24, guilty of both murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors identified Harris as one of the gunmen.
In September 2011, a jury had convicted the other gunman, Shawn Gaston, 24, of the murder and attempted murder. He is serving 125 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Valadez, a 27-year-old expectant father, had responded with Vargas to a call of shots fired on the 6000 block of South Hermitage Avenue just after midnight on June 1, 2009. The earlier gunfire had been aimed at the three gang members, according to prosecutors. The three fled the scene in Gaston’s mom’s Pontiac G6, marked with a fresh bullet hole, to grab weapons of their own, Alvarez said.
When the three returned, Valadez, in plainclothes but wearing a bullet-proof vest and a duty belt, was questioning a man about the earlier gunfire.
Walker positioned the car so “they had a good shot,” Alvarez said. Harris opened fire from the back passenger seat with a .357 Magnum while Gaston fired a rifle, she said. A bullet pierced through Valadez’s left ear and lodged in his brain.
The weapons used in the killing were found in the trunk of the Pontiac the men had been driving that day, prosecutors said. Gunshot residue tests from a swab on Harris’ hand came back positive, while Walker’s fingerprint was found on a .40-caliber gun also used in the crime,