AVONDALE — The 23-year-old man who was shot to death in an Avondale alley Saturday afternoon is remembered by friends and neighbors as a leader and family man.
Jonathan Barajas was killed around 12:45 p.m. Saturday in the 2800 block of North Rockwell Street, not far from where he lived in the 3100 block of North Sacramento Avenue, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Barajas was in a car in an alley when someone came up to him and opened fire, hitting him in his neck, chest and stomach, police said. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Police and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez’s 33rd Ward office said the shooting stemmed from a domestic and narcotics-related incident and was not gang-related, but no arrests had been made as of Monday night.
Barajas’ longtime friend and neighbor, Erik, who declined to provide his last name, described Barajas as a “leader” who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and always had a lot of friends around him.
“Everyone looked up to him,” Erik said. “Some people — they just go straight to the point. … And that’s why he was a friend of mine.”
Erik and Barajas grew up together; they lived across the street from each other and went to nearby Linne Elementary School and ASPIRA High School.
According to Erik, Barajas worked as a driver for a catering company up until his death.
Erik and another neighbor said Barajas also spent a lot of his time taking care of his young son and daughter.
Erik said Barajas would sometimes try and bring one of his kids to high school with him and the security guard would give him grief.
“He want[ed] to show off his kids,” Erik said.
Erik also has fond memories of hanging out with Barajas and his children. Barajas’ family has a grape vine in their back yard, Erik said, and Barajas would sometimes invite Erik and his young daughter over to pick grapes.
Erik said he was stunned to hear that Barajas had been shot to death. He said he found out Saturday through Barajas’ sister.
“I just can’t believe it,” Erik said.
Erik said this isn’t the first time he’s lost a friend to gun violence. One of his friends was killed in a shooting when he was 17 years old, he said.
“It can happen,” Erik said, staring at Barajas’ home. “It can happen to me tomorrow. To my friends, whatever. You know how Chicago is. It’s crazy.”
Erik said he doesn’t know why anyone would want to kill Barajas.
“He was just looking out for [his] kids,” Erik said.
Barajas’ sister was reached but declined to be interviewed. Barajas’ downstairs neighbor described the 23-year-old as a “family man” before declining to talk further.
As of Monday evening, police didn’t have anyone in custody. An investigation is ongoing, police said.
Rodriguez-Sanchez said the city needs to do more to prevent gun violence deaths.
“It is absolutely tragic to lose a life to violence, and my heart goes out to Jonathan’s family and friends,” the alderman said in a written statement.
“We need to do better as a city to make sure we are investing in our communities and preventing these incidents from happening. We need more resources to address violence throughout Chicago so we can have safe communities for all.”
The shooting happened in the Shakespeare Police District, Beat 11. The next CAPS meeting isn’t until March 5 at St. Nicolai Church, but the alderman’s office said it’s hosting a community safety town hall meeting Jan. 25 at Roosevelt High School, 3436 W. Wilson Ave. The event will kick off at 1 p.m.
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