Friends: Quarrel may have led to shooting

October 23, 2009 (CHICAGO) Gamaliel Toscano, 17, was shot in the 1100-block of West 47th Street.

No one is in custody, but friends said the shooting may be the result of a quarrel that Toscano had with a group of boys two days ago.

Police are not releasing any details, but witnesses say that the shooter approached Toscano from behind, shot him in the head and then fled in a waiting car.

Friends of Toscano gathered in the rain and placed flowers near the spot where he was gunned down on South Racine near 47th Street. They described him as a good kid. In the Back of the Yards neighborhood -- where gangs are prevalent -- they said he would have none of it.

"It is a devastating loss, as they all are," said family friend Oriana Wilson. "When I get a text that says it's an emergency, please call back, it is because another student has died. Every year in Back of the Yards, one student dies. It is one student every year."

Toscano was a sophomore at Tilden Career Academy. He was on his way home Thursday afternoon when someone confronted him and opened fire. While police search for a suspect and a motive for the deadly shooting, friends suspect some type of argument at the school may have led to his killing.

"Kids argue. They talk bad about each other. Someone gets mad enough to find a gun and kill you," said Eddie Anguiano, Chicago Commons Program Director. "We need help. We need help from the adults in this community to step up, and to not allow this to happen."

"These kids have to figure out a better way to deal with conflict, a better way to handle the problems they have with each other. Too many kids are dying. I'm sure when he woke up this morning, he did not think that his life was going to be over in an instant," said Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward.

Toscano was active in the Chicago Commons, an after-school program. It is a safe haven from the streets.

Those who knew him say he dreamed of going on to college.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman released a statement saying:

"Our priority at this time is to support the family of Gamaliel Toscano and the Tilden school community. The street violence that has taken too many of our students concerns all of us, and we will continue to work with Chicago Police Department, faith leaders, parents and the community to ensure safe passage."

Detectives at Area One are investigating the shooting, and although no one is in custody yet, there were several witnesses who are being interviewed for leads.

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