Cuauhtemoc Estrada, 50, of Maywood was shot Friday evening, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Police said he spotted four armed men trying to rob his daughter and her boyfriend in the parking lot of the VFW Hall in Bellwood.
"He won't be able to see me walking across the stage when I graduate from college," Cristina Estrada, 19, told WMAQ-TV, Chicago, in an interview Saturday. "He was just a good person, a father. He was always there for us. He just wanted us to succeed in life."
No arrests had been made early Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reported. Sheriff Tom Dart said his department is working with Bellwood police on the investigation.
Dart called the killing "horrifically tragic."
He said he had known and worked with the deputy for years.
"He was an amazing person, funny, caring, thoughtful," Dart said.
Estrada served in the U.S. Marines before joining the sheriff's department. Relatives told the Sun-Times Estrada, named after an Aztec ruler, was proud of his Mexican heritage.
Bellwood, about 10 miles west of the Chicago Loop, is a small densely populated village.