Bail denied for boy, 16, charged in West Elsdon shooting death of teen artist: Cook County officials

Chicago violence: Azul de la Garza shot 7 times in car outside home
CHICAGO -- Why a 16-year-old boy would allegedly gun down a promising art student in a parked car on the Southwest Side wasn't made any clearer at his bond hearing Tuesday.

The teen had no known connection to 18-year-old Azul de la Garza and neither did anyone else with him on Sept. 25 when he repeatedly shot de la Garza outside the family home in the 5400-block of South Avers Avenue in West Elsdon, Cook County prosecutors said.

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.

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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.

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.

Just before the shooting, the suspect was captured on surveillance cameras and seen by witnesses walking up and down the block with a group of people, prosecutors said.

Pronouns: Showing respect and inclusion

When de la Garza parked, the 16-year-old was seen separating from the group and approaching their car while wearing a distinctive black sleeveless shirt, prosecutors said.

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He fired at least eight times into the car before running away with the others through an alley, prosecutors said. Eventually, the teen walked away while the others got onto a CTA bus.

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

The teen boy, who was arrested Monday after being identified by witnesses, according to prosecutors, gave no motive for the shooting. He has been charged as an adult in de la Garza's murder.

During Tuesday's live-streamed bond court hearing, the teen rocked back and forth in a chair and spoke softly when Judge Barbara Dawkins told him to let her know if there was anything that he didn't understand.

He has had no previous juvenile convictions, and prosecutors did not indicate there was any physical evidence linking him to de la Garza's murder, an assistant public defender pointed out to Dawkins.

He is expected back in court Dec. 10.

ABC7 Chicago contributed to this report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2021.)