LITTLE VILLAGE — Friends, family and classmates of 16-year-old Angie Monroy honored the slain teen at her high school Wednesday with a balloon release — and begged the gunman who opened fire on the street to come forward.
At 9:43 p.m. Saturday, Monroy, a junior at Pilsen’s Benito Juarez Community Academy, was walking in the 2300 block of South Rockwell Street in Little Village after getting off work when someone in a passing truck fired shots, hitting her in her head, police said.
CBS reported the stolen truck used in the shooting was discovered by detectives Tuesday and is being processed for evidence. Police do not think Monroy was the intended target.
Monroy’s classmates organized Wednesday’s balloon release and, despite frigid temperatures, no one seemed to be in a hurry to head back inside. Most stood in silence and only the crying of those in mourning was heard until family members addressed the students.
Juarez Principal Juan Ocon said the blue, white and pink balloons “are the colors that represent Angie. They are bright, vibrant and pure, like she was.”
Monroy’s mother, Maria, addressed the crowd through tears, telling them in Spanish not to let her daughter die in vain.
Dafne Hernandez, a 16-year-old junior and friend of Monroy, said what happened was “really unfair.” The balloon release was a way of saying goodbye to her friend, she said. She pleaded for the shooter to come forward.
“Please turn yourself in and give us peace,” Hernandez said.
Monroy’s older sister, Joselyn Monroy, 22, said her family was still in disbelief.
“She was always happy, she would always be laughing with us. This is literally our nightmare before Christmas.”
Dana Butler, who was Monroy’s elementary school principal at Ruiz Elementary in Pilsen, said, “She was a great kid who had a beautiful spirit.”
He said the shooting, which police think was part of a dispute between feuding gangs, is inexcusable.
“This gunplay is relentless, and until we find a way to stop it, this may not be the end,” Butler said.
Family friend Raul Hernandez, 38, echoed Butler and said the gun violence in the area caused him to move to south suburban Alsip recently.
“I grew up here but the violence has skyrocketed,” Hernandez said. “Every weekend bullets are flying through neighbors windows. I have three boys and we just moved to get away from this.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, no one was in custody in the shooting.