WICKER PARK — In the days since Walgreens employee Olga Calderon was killed, her fiancé has struggled to cope with his loss, comfort his daughter and help his son understand the gravity of what happened.
Calderon’s longtime fiancé, Israel Alvarado, spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday, sharing some of his family’s private grief amid an increasingly public tragedy.
Standing with family outside the Walgreens, 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave., where Calderon worked, Alvarado said the couple’s 11-year-old daughter has been crushed by the loss.
“She’s very strong willed like her mother,” he said. “Her mother is her best friend. They did everything together. They painted their nails together. They frequented downtown together.”
Their 3-year-old son is old enough to understand what happened and comforts his father when he breaks down in tears. But he is too young to “grasp the reality” of the killing, and that has led to some hard conversations, Alvarado said.
“My son … he asks some of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to answer. When he sees me emotional he just puts his hand on my shoulder and says, ‘Calm down,’” Alvarado said.
“This event has shattered our families. Left children without a mother. … Left me without the most important person in my life. … This could have been prevented if people cared. If people weren’t so involved in their own agendas. … She was a good person.”
Calderon, 32, was killed inside the Walgreens during a shift on Sept. 6.
Police quickly arrested Sincere Williams, 18, saying surveillance footage enabled detectives to track his movements from his home, to the store and back to his house that day. Williams was denied bail last week.
Detectives believe Williams attempted to rob the store and that he was also responsible for other robberies that occurred days earlier.
Standing outside the Wicker Park Walgreens where Calderon worked Wednesday, Alvarado and his attorney questioned what could have been done differently to prevent his fiancée’s death.
Frank Sommario, an attorney with Romancci & Blandin representing Calderon’s family, said he wants to look into why the store did not have a security guard on staff and why Williams, who had been on electronic monitoring for an unrelated case in juvenile court, was removed from it days before Calderon was killed.
A security guard was posted at the store after Calderon was killed.
“We are examining all events leading up to this tragedy and are considering every legal option in order to hold all responsible parties accountable,” Sommario said.
Alvarado said there aren’t “enough words in the dictionary” to describe Calderon.
“She was bright, funny. She cared about everybody. … She cared about people. She was one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. Everything she did was for her family. Everything she did was for her kids.”
Each time Calderon clocked in for her shifts at Walgreens, Alvarado knew his fiancée would brighten the days of her coworkers.
That’s the kind of person she was, Alvarado said: positive and kind.
“In the short time that she was employed here … they got to experience a small ray of sunshine that I got to experience every day,” Alvarado said.
A GoFundMe campaign created by Calderon’s sister, Andrea Calderon, raised nearly $74,000 as of Wednesday.
The money raised will go toward Calderon’s funeral expenses and to support her husband and her two children.
“To all the supporters that have donated to our GoFundMe page, thank you,” he said. “Strangers from this community and beyond have shown their love and support.”
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