CHICAGO (CBS) — A somber gathering was held Wednesday evening to remember a 16-year-old girl who was recently killed in Little Village.
The teen’s mother broke down as the community deals with another innocent bystander who lost her life to gunfire in a gang war.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, police officers were at the vigil to show support and to protect the crowd searching for understanding in the murder of Angie Monroy.
When you look at a map of Little Village – a Lower West Side neighborhood centered on 26th Street – it doesn’t encompass a large amount of land area. But it seems to be a hot zone for a gang war.
Wife and husband Rosa and Ali Basaldua own a corner store in the neighborhood.
“My customers aren’t just my customers. They’re my friends,” Rosa Basaldua said.
The Baldasuas started running the corner store in Little Village seven years ago.
“There’s a lot of good people here in Little Village,” Rosa Baldasua said.
The couple not only works at 27th Street and Washtenaw Avenue – they live in the neighborhood too.
“I live in this community,” Rosa Baldasua said. “I’m living in Little Village.”
So they’re vested in what is going on around them. Ali Baldasua said at least some of the crime comes from outside the neighborhood.
“The thing that happens around here sometimes – it’s not people living here,” he said. “Sometimes they come here.”
Someone shot and killed Angie near 23rd and Rockwell streets just blocks away from the store. Police said she was caught in the crossfire of gang violence.
“People need to know that Little Village is more than just gangs and bad people,” Rosa Baldasua said.
CBS 2 analyzed serious violent crimes in Little Village. The data show there have been fewer murders and armed robberies and batteries this year compared with last – though by a small number.
There were 308 reported cases in 2018 – compared with 291 to date.
But those data do little for those gathering where Angie’s life tragically ended. Angie’s mother was sobbing uncontrollably in the vigil.
Angie’s murder comes weeks after Frank Aguilar, a 32-year-old nurse, was shot dead outside his sister’s house in Little Village, and more than a month after Gisselle Zamago, 7, was shot in the neck and wounded while trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Those at the vigil believe they are stronger than the gang violence around them.
As police stood guard at the vigil, back at the corner store, Rosa Baldasua said it doesn’t fall only on police officers.
“I think some of this stuff too has to start at home,” she said.
The Little Village community is adamant it won’t let gangs win. Meanwhile Wednesday night, police continued to look for the shooter in Angie’s murder.