Boy, 16, charged in West Elsdon shooting death of teen athlete, artist, Chicago police say

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

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Boy, 16, charged with murder after teen killed on SW Side
Azul de la Garza was shot seven times while sitting inside their car earlier this year in West Elsdon after a day spent with their mother.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 16-year-old boy was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of an 18-year-old artist and athlete in West Elsdon earlier this year.

The teen, who Chicago police did not identify because he's a minor, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in the 4900-block of South Keeler Avenue.

He's accused of fatally shooting 18-year-old Azul de la Garza Sept. 25 while they were sitting in their vehicle moments after arriving home from shopping with their mother in the 5400-block of South Avers Avenue.

Chicago police released new photos and video last month connected de la Garza's murder.

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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.

The video was 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.

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.

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."

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.