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By Devin Rose
A reward fund to find the person who killed an off-duty Chicago police officer, Dec. 29, has grown to $13,000, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.
Officer Clifton Lewis, 41, was working a part-time security job at M&M Foods, 1201 N. Austin Blvd., when two armed men wearing masks came in around 8:30 p.m. and tried to rob the store, Chicago Police Department Supt. Garry McCarthy said at a press conference Dec. 30.
Lewis, an eight-year veteran of the department, who was assigned to the 15th District Tactical Team, drew his weapon before he was shot by one of the offenders, McCarthy said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died.
The offenders fled the scene. Police are investigating "some significant leads" in the case, McCarthy said, including surveillance video from the store. It appears from the video that the offenders had a handgun and another gun, possibly similar to a 9mm automatic.
But he added that police need the public's help to find the offenders.
First Deputy Supt. Al Wysinger called Lewis a gentle giant with a courageous heart. He joined Ald. Deborah Graham (29th Ward) and other police officials in asking residents of Austin and Oak Park to come forward with any information.
Those who come forward should call 1-888-976-7468, McCarthy said. The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation (CPMF) has offered $11,000 for information leading to the arrests, and community leaders and ministers have pooled another $2,000, according to the Tribune.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement, Dec. 30, calling Lewis' death a "tragic and senseless loss" for his family, his colleagues and for the city of Chicago.
"Officer Lewis died as he had lived, serving and protecting his community," Emanual said. "His courage and sense of duty to the city are examples for us all."
Lewis left behind a young daughter, a fiancée, a loving family and many close friends, according to a statement from the CPMF.
There will be a ceremonial arrival of his casket at 9 a.m. Thursday at United Baptist Church, 4242 W. Roosevelt Road, followed by a public viewing at 10 a.m. and a service led by the St. Jude Police League at 10:45 a.m. A public funeral for Lewis will be held at 11 a.m.