CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of a young woman who was shot and killed in West Elsdon this weekend remembered them as a “beautiful soul” with a bright artistic future ahead.
CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek spoke to the sister of Melissa De La Garza, who preferred the name Azul and the pronouns they/them. Azul was a recent graduate of Solorio Academy High School, according to their sister, Isabel De La Garza.READ MORE: City Hall, Chicago FOP File Dueling Lawsuits In Heated Standoff Over Vaccine Mandate
“It’s hard to believe that I’m just never going to see her anymore,” Isabel De La Garza said.
Isabel De La Garza is still in shock over the loss of her younger sister, who was shot and killed just outside their childhood home near 54th Street and Avers Avenue in West Elsdon around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Azul was sitting in a parked car when they were shot multiple times in the torso by an unidentified man who fled on foot, authorities said.
Isabel and Azul had Facetimed just an hour before, as they did every day.
“She was super happy,” Isabel De La Garza said. “She just came back from Halloween shopping.”READ MORE: Boy, 15, Shot And Killed In Brainerd
Isabel said her sister was artistic – a painter, who earned a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute, but had deferred a year to start a small business.
“She was thrifting pants and turning them into skirts. Open mind to discover new things,” Isabel said. “Both of my siblings have gone through the journey of trying to identify themselves, being accepted and it’s hard because people are mean – but they get through it. Everybody in my family is really strong.”
Isabel said her sister’s strength was on full display as a high school wrestler, something they excelled at – even making it into the school newspaper.
“She encouraged girls to also join the wrestling team, like you can do this. Just because we’re girls, we’re not weak,” Isabel said. “She would beat the boys. She was good.”
That strength Azul showed in the ring may have been passed down from their grandmother, Clara, who had a message for her granddaughter’s killers.
“Even these people that murder my baby, somebody loves them,” their grandmother said, “and if they don’t, I hope they find some love in themselves to stop this nonsense.”MORE NEWS: Child Tax Credit: October Payments Hitting Parents' Bank Accounts
Kostek asked Azul’s family whether they have any reason to believe this was a targeted shooting. They said they don’t believe Azul had any enemies.