Suspect in Joliet dad's murder surrenders

April 18, 2008 8:11:12 PM PDT
Joliet police say Daniel Huizar, 18, turned himself in Friday afternoon at his lawyer's office. It happened around 12:40 p.m. Friday. Police took him into custody there without incident.

Police in Joliet believe the father shot was the innocent victim of gang gunfire.

A $5 million warrant was issued for the alleged gang member, Huizar, wanted in connection with the shooting.

Forty-year-old Alfredo Lopez was caught in the gunfire as he walked into a drugstore with two of his children.

A Joliet family is planning a funeral for this 40-year-old man - a father, a landscaper, a man who was simply running an errand with his sons when he was apparently caught in the crossfire. The family of Lopez is deeply hurt by this incident.

On Wednesday night just after 7 p.m., Lopez was holding his sons' hands as they were going into the Walgreens on East Cass Street. At the same time, shots rang out. Joliet police say 18-year-old Daniel Huizar fired the shots.

"The altercation which took place in the parking lot by the subway and continued over toward Walgreen's when Mr. Huizar obtained the firearm and began shooting at some gang members. Subsequently, Mr. Lopez was struck as a result of Daniel Huizar's actions," said Chief Fred Hayes, Joliet Police.

Lopez comes from a large and very close-knit family. They say their pain is overwhelming.

Relatives tried to comfort Mrs. Lopez, Aricele. Her husband of five years, the father of her 4-year-old daughter Ruby is dead. His death leaves her to explain to Ruby, when she's old enough to understand, why her father is not coming home.

She says her husband was a great man and a great father and she is devastated. Dozens of family members gathered at the home. Many of them know the suspect police say is responsible for the shooting.

Bond for Huizar has already been set at $5 million.

Joliet police had been en route to the area Wednesday evening when someone called about a disturbance. The next 911 call was about shots fired.

Investigators say Huizar was involved in a gang dispute outside of the Subway restaurant where he worked. Lopez was with his two sons 8 and 11 years old going to buy school supplies at Walgreen's when a bullet struck him in the back. Relatives hope the suspect is behind bars soon.

"We need to find this person. He needs to spend time in jail," said a family member.

Police have interviewed numerous witnesses and may even have video of the shooting from security cameras nearby. They're vowing to bring in Huizar in quickly.

"I think it's very tragic. And suffice it to say I want to make it very clear that we are not going to allow these gang banging punks to take over our city. And we will do everything to bring the offender, in this case, to justice and all the other individuals that were involved in the original altercation," said Hayes.

Lopez's sons, 8 and 11, ran into the Walgreen's as soon as their father was shot and they hid. They were not injured. And no one else at the Walgreen's was injured. Lopez who was shot in the back.
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