‘Likable kid’ dies in hail of gunfire that remains unexplained

He would’ve started the fourth grade this fall.

About halfway through summer break, Gustavo Garcia was already looking forward to school starting back up at Arnold Mireles Academy.

“He liked to play with his classmates,” said Andrew Holmes, a community activist who spent Sunday morning at the Cook County morgue with Gustavo’s mother and stepfather. They had to officially identify the boy who was shot to death while riding in a car with his stepdad about 11:15 p.m. Friday in the 3500 block of East 97th Street, Holmes said.

Gustavo’s parents have declined to speak with reporters, preferring to communicate through Holmes, who offers support for the families of homicide victims, having lost his own daughter to violence. Holmes said he has been in constant contact with the grieving family, who said 10-year-old Gustavo was an only child.

“She’s going to miss him, with his bright smile,” Holmes said of Gustavo’s mother. “He was close to his mother. They’re still totally in shock, still totally in disbelief.”

Gustavo had been riding along 97th Street in an SUV with his stepdad and his dad’s friend as the trio went to pick up another of the adults’ friends from a home on 96th Street, Holmes said, when two men in a gray Chevrolet Impala pulled up and began shooting.

Holmes wasn’t sure who was driving, or on which side of the car the stepdad was seated, but Gustavo Garcia was in the back of the SUV and he was shot once in the back. The stepdad’s friend, a 31-year-old man, was shot four times: once in the face, once in the chest and twice in the back. The man remains in critical condition, Holmes said.

Holmes said with so many shots fired, to get away from the gunman, the driver of the SUV made the decision to keep driving rather than to stop or call 911. Eventually, he came up to what the occupants of the SUV would later learn was a fatal car crash. A…

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