PORTAGE PARK — Hundreds of people paid tribute Sunday to Jakub “Kuba” Marchewka, a 28-year-old man killed in an Easter Sunday shooting that police say started with a fight in a Portage Park parking lot.
Friends, family and Northwest Side residents, many of them members of Chicago’s Polish community, marched through the area and gathered around a memorial for Marchewka near the parking lot of Max’s Food & Liquor at Addison Street and Austin Avenue, where the shooting occurred two weeks earlier.
Northwest Side residents demanded justice for Marchewka, a Polish immigrant whose killer has not been found, and called for an end to gun violence in the city.
“It’s getting worse and worse,” said Beata Kacprzak, of Portage Park. “I brought my teenage sons to the protest, but my neighbors were too afraid to leave their homes.”
Marchewka and another man were fighting in a parking lot of the 3500 block of North Austin Avenue about 4:30 p.m. April 4 when the other man pulled out a gun and shot Marchewka in his chest, police said.
Marchewka’s family said in a Facebook post he had stopped at the store and accidentally bumped a car that was parked next to him while opening his car door. A woman in the car started yelling and soon the car’s owner left the store and a physical fight started.
The fight was captured by surveillance cameras, according to NBC Chicago. But Marchewka’s friends said “the video doesn’t show everything” and Marchewka was defending himself.
“He probably just expected to fight and go home. He didn’t know the other guy had a gun. It’s not fair what happened to him,” said Danislava Dramsazova, Marchewka’s friend.
Marchewka, who lived in Belmont Cragin, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. No arrest has been made.
Dramsazova started a GoFundMe page to help the family raise money for the cost of the funeral. Marchewka will be buried in his native Poland.
During the demonstration, several hundred people marched down Austin Avenue shouting, “Justice for Kuba,” followed by dozens of honking cars and motorcycles decorated with Polish and American flags. Some people held banners reading “Stop Chicago’s gun violence” and “No more killing.”
The crowd also expressed disapproval for Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker, and support for Chicago police, who were there to block the streets to allow the march.
Marchewka’s father and friends told the crowd he was a “good man” and “amazing friend” who loved soccer and fishing. Well wishers held a moment of silence, lit candles and prayed together.
Local residents said the Northwest Side used to feel safe, but not anymore.
“We also want to be recognized,” said Dramsazova, who also lives in Belmont Cragin. “Two weeks after the shooting, the gunman is not found.”
Joanna Marszałek is a staff writer at Polish Daily News.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.