Funeral Held For Chicago Police Officer John Rivera

Partner of murdered police officer shares heartfelt letter

Bernie Tafoya
March 29, 2019 - 11:53 am
Chicago Police Officer John Rivera

Chicago Police


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The funeral for the Chicago Police Officer who was fatally shot while off-duty in River North last weekend will take place Friday morning on the Southeast Side.

The funeral mass for 23-year-old John Rivera will take place at 10 a.m. at Annunciata Church, located at 11128 S. Avenue G, according to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

Hundreds of people - family, police officers, friends, and others paid their respects Thursday for Rivera. The 23-year old was gunned down last weekend while out with friends. Two men have been charged with killing him and police want to talk to a third person.

Meanwhile, Officer Nate Smith, once partners with Rivera in the 6th District publicly shared his thoughts in a letter. It read: "My name is Nate Smith and John and I worked 006 together and we were great friends. I was hoping you could share this and people could remember John in this manner.

"Words can't even begin to express the emotions, pain, sadness, and hurt in my heart. John you weren't just a coworker, you were one of my best friends I've ever had. And I'm always going to remember you and thank you for that. We see it so often how lightly people say the word 'friend' but man I mean it from the bottom of my heart you were a true friend and we had the type of friendship everyone should want to have. Sitting here I can't think of a dull moment we ever had. All I can think of is moments of laughter and funny times. And those memories I'll always hold dear to my heart. I'm going to miss you always calling and texting me all the time asking for advice; no matter if it was life stuff, work related, or just things you were thinking about. I always wanted to give you the best advice possible,because you were like a brother to me and I just wanted what was best for you.  Or how we would always try to push each other to want and do better. Even though your life was violently taken away from you and us far too soon. I thank God for bringing us into each other's lives. You were my right hand man, my someone I could always count on. At work if I came in not feeling the best mood, I knew the moment we got in that car or started talking, all my problems seems to disappear. Now that you're gone I pray you Rest in Peace. Until I see you again, I love you Brother."

Rivera was fatally shot in an apparently random shooting that also critically wounded one of his friends early Saturday when they returned to their car after a night out on the town in River North.

The group of friends left the Stout Barrel House and got into a Honda Civic parked in the 700 block of North Clark about 3:30 a.m., according to police, when two men approached the car and one opened fire, before they both fled the scene.

"This appears to be an unprovoked attack against a group of individuals who went out to unwind on a Friday night,” Supt. Johnson said.

Rivera was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds to the chest, arm and mouth, authorities said. He was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

The 23-year-old man sitting behind Rivera in the car, who is not an officer, was shot in the chest and arms, police said. He was in critical “but stable” condition, and he underwent surgery Saturday morning. The other off-duty officer and woman in the car were not hurt, police said.

Rivera had been with the department for about two years, police said, and had worked his shift the night before, handling the paperwork on a murder case.

Johnson lamented the loss of a young patrolman who was “very excited, very eager to serve,” with “his whole life and career in front of him.”

“He’s the kind of officer that we want in Chicago, a hard worker who loved going out on patrol and solving problems,” Johnson said. “When you first come on you want to make a difference, that’s why you take this job.”

Two people were charged with murder in connection with the shooting.

Menelik Jackson, 24, and Jovan Battle, 32, are facing felony murder charges for the shooting of Rivera in River North, Chicago Police said.

Jackson is charged with one felony count of first degree murder, three felony counts of attempted first degree murder and resisting/obstructing a peace officer.

Battle is charge with one felony count of first degree murder and three felony counts of attempted first degree murder.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officers were also looking for a third person of interest in the case.