Chicago police release video of possible suspects in teen's West Elsdon shooting death

Chicago violence: Azul de la Garza shot 7 times in car outside home

Michelle Gallardo Image
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
CPD releases video of possible suspects after teen killed on SW Side
Azul de la Garza was shot seven times while sitting inside their car last month in West Elsdon after a day spent with their mother.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police released new photos and video Monday night connected to the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old artist and athlete in West Elsdon last month.

Chicago police confirmed early Tuesday morning the surveillance video released Monday night is in fact related to the murder of 18-year-old Azul de la Garza, who was gunned down inside their vehicle moments after arriving home, following a day out spent with their mother on the evening of Sept. 25.

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The video is not of the incident itself, but of what appears to be the minutes leading up to it, and it shows three young men, between the ages of 16 and 23, walking down the street in the vicinity of de la Garza's home, located on the 5400-block of South Avers Avenue.

Chicago police said the three suspects were waiting on the corner until their victim arrived home, shooting them several times.

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De La Garza was alone in their car at the time of the shooting. Relatives said they rushed out when they heard the gunshots, which were picked up by a nearby ShotSpotter, alerting police, as well, who arrived on the scene moments later.

It's believed the suspects ran away down a nearby alley. But this is the first time surveillance video of them appears to have been released.

Pronouns: Showing respect and inclusion

"They showed us the video a couple of days ago. It's been very difficult, for me, for all the family," Azul's mother Alma Mendoza said. "They could be my kid, too! They're 15, 16. Like how can they do this? I don't understand."

Police are asking anyone who thinks they may know either one or all of the men pictured in it to either call detectives at Area One or leave information anonymously at CPDTIP.COM.

De la Garza was one of four siblings and had just graduated from Solorio Academy, where they participated in the high school's wrestling team. They were also an artist who loved to paint and was planning to take a year off to work, even after being admitted to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Their family said they just wanted everyone in the world to be treated with kindness.

"It brought up some anger. I'm upset because I don't know why. And I want to know why?" Azul's sister Isabel de la Garza asked. "I find it hard to believe they were targeting her. I believe they were just looking for somebody. And Azul might have said something to them. There might have been an interchange of words."