CHICAGO — The fiancée of slain Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis said she was "speechless" when she learned a third man had been charged in the 2011 murder.
Latrice Tucker was working on a philosophy paper late Friday night when she got a call from the police department letting her know a 25-year-old Hermosa man had been arrested and charged with Lewis' murder.
Around 10:30 p.m., Tucker, who wrote a book about her late fiancee, was struggling through a philosophy paper when she got a phone call from the Chicago Police Department giving her the news.
"It was out of [thin] air," said Tucker. "The news [they] gave me left me speechless, had me elated, had me crying."
Alexander Villa, 25, was charged Friday with first-degree murder of a peace officer, armed robbery with a firearm and aggravated battery with a firearm, according to a police statement.
Police said Villa, of the 4500 block of West Altgeld Street, was one of three men who walked into a convenience store in the 1200 block of North Austin Avenue on December 29, 2011, with the intention of robbing it.
As the two-year anniversary of Lewis' death nears, Tucker said she had no special plans to commemorate it.
"What Clifton gave me, nobody can ever replace that. I don't wait for an anniversary; I'll go out to the cemetery. I'll go home and I'll fuss at him so I don't have to wait for an anniversary to remember him or to honor him," she said. "Him being in my life and having these people in my life is honor enough."
She thanked police for their tireless work and said she was confident that the family will see justice served.
Lewis, an eight-year police veteran, was working off-duty at the store when Villa and the two other gunman entered. In the course of the robbery, they fired several shots, killing Lewis.
"The murder of Officer Clifton Lewis was a tragic loss to his family, friends, and colleagues as well as the entire City of Chicago," police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a statement. "It is a measure of comfort to bring to justice the dangerous and despicable individuals who committed this horrible act."
McCarthy called the day "bittersweet" as he discussed the charges with a "heavy heart" in a press conference standing alongside Lewis' mother and fiancée Saturday afternoon.
He said the final charges were a testament to "determined tireless" detective work.
"They knew additional offenders were involved in the murder of Officer Lewis and they never gave up," McCarthy said.
In January 2012, police arrested two West Side men, Edgardo Colon and Tyrone Clay, in connection with the crime. They were also charged with first-degree murder of a peace officer. They are awaiting trial after being held without bond last February.
McCarthy credited "old school" police work from the entire department to gather enough evidence to finally put Villa behind bars.
"The support of organizations and community members throughout this investigation sent an overwhelming message that the murder of Clifton Lewis was not going to be tolerated sitting down," he said.
Lewis was a member of a tactical team out of the 15th district in Austin when he was killed. He had also served in the Chicago Lawn and Harrison districts before being assigned to Austin, according to a police statement.
Lewis "led an exemplary career" in which he earned 81 awards, including 70 honorable mentions and four department commendations, officials said in the statement.
Anthony Noradan, a detective whose worked the case since Lewis' death said his colleagues "beat the streets for two years" to build "the best possible case against Alexander Villa."
"It's amazing. It's a big relief that we were able to bring a finish to this case and we have all the people that were involved in this case where they belong," Noradan said.
Villa was ordered held without bond Saturday.