No bond for man accused of fatally shooting boy

October 15, 2011 9:31:44 PM PDT
A Cook County judge denied bond for a 27-year-old man accused of shooting into a car and killing a 5-year-old Elgin boy last week.

Miguel Hernandez, Jr., of Elgin is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Eric Galarza, Jr. The 5-year-old was in the back of his family's car when police say Hernandez fired multiple shots from a semiautomatic pistol, hitting the boy in the head.

"What happened to this family hurts all of us. And it's something that's senseless and should never have happened," said Elgin resident Danise Habun.

Though police will not comment on a motive, reports say Hernandez, a known gang member, may have been targeting the boy's father.

Prosecutors allege that two other men were with Hernandez and drove him to and from the scene. While no charges have been filed against the two men, police have not closed the books on the October 7 shooting.

"Although we charge one person, in these cases many times the investigation continues and we go down other avenues as well," said Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda.

Meanwhile, Eric's relatives took to the streets on Saturday to honor his life.

"We're always going to love my son. And we want to thank everybody for being here," said the victim's father, Eric Galarza, Sr.

Converging on the spot where Eric was gunned down, people gathered to say that the good in the Elgin community outnumbers those who do bad.

"Seeing all these people out here for baby Eric, it's just awesome to see all these guys, these people caring about Eric," said the victim's cousin, Michelle Perez.

The march was organized by a Eric's father's friend Elias Juarez, a former gang member with Still Standing Outreach who now counsels young people.

"Change is possible, you know. If they're watching this, and they're in a gang, change is possible. And if they're not in a gang, nothing positive comes out of it, man. Jail time, having to look over your shoulder all the time," Juarez said.

Eric's parents would not comment Saturday on whether or not they know Hernandez, who has a criminal record that includes attempted murder. Prosecutors say he's implicated himself in a videotaped statement to police.

Hernandez has two children, including one who's 5 years old -- the same age as Eric.

Police say information from the community led to the arrest of Hernandez, and are asking the public to continue calling in tips.

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