HUMBOLDT PARK — Detectives have a “strong case” against the person they believe gunned down a couple in Humboldt Park last week and are just working to “close the loop” before an arrest, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said.
Speaking at a press conference Monday afternoon, Brown said detectives have identified the person they believe is the gunman, but are continuing to collect evidence before they file charges. Brown’s remarks come a week after Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed to find those responsible for the “horrific” shooting. At the time, Lightfoot said police had “promising leads.”
“All of what Mayor Lightfoot said is still true,” Brown said Monday. The top cop didn’t provide further details, adding, “We’re being strategically vague, not because we don’t have a strong case, it’s because we’re trying to catch someone who’s listening.”
The shooting happened around 9:15 p.m. June 19, just hours after the Puerto Rican Parade. Gyovanny Arzuaga, 24, and Yasmin Perez, 25, were out celebrating the parade festivities in the 3200 block of West Division Street — their car decorated with a Puerto Rican flag — when they were reportedly involved in a “minor crash.” The couple was then ambushed by three attackers who fired shots at them.
A gruesome video from the shooting shows the attackers dragging Perez out of the car. In the video, Perez bleeds on the ground as Arzuaga kneels over her. With people standing nearby, a man in a white tank top fires shots at Arzuaga; the shooter and the rest of the group run off while Arzuaga lays on Perez’s body and then rolls over, bleeding.
Arzuaga, who was shot in his head, was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital. Perez was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition. She died from her injuries two days later, on June 22.
The shooting has gained national attention as Chicago continues to see a spike in gun violence this summer, including six mass shootings this month alone.
Arzuaga and Perez, of Hanover Park, were parents to two young children and were in a relationship. Their deaths have sparked an outpouring of support; two separate GoFundMe fundraisers for their families had raised more than $135,000 as of late Monday afternoon.
“We are all heartbroken and devastated beyond belief as they leave behind two beautiful children, Sofiya and Jayden,” family members wrote in one of the fundraisers.
Several attempts to reach the couple’s family were unsuccessful Monday. Aimee Clare, the Perez family’s attorney, said the family is asking for privacy as the police investigation continues.
The area’s alderman, Roberto Maldonado (26th), didn’t respond to a request for an interview Monday, but said in a Facebook post last week he was “filled with sadness” when he learned of the shooting, which happened the day of the Puerto Rican celebration.
“… I was also filled with sadness later that day when I learned of a tragic, deadly shooting of a young father which also left the mother of his two children critically injured,” Maldonado wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately, crimes such as these, are often perpetrated by criminals who take advantage of celebrations like ours to further their own criminal activity and damage the true meaning of our celebration of Puerto Rican heritage.
“We should never allow this evil behavior to define or control the positive narrative of the pride and joy we feel in our community or our belief that we can, and always will, overcome adversity.”
A few days before the shooting, Maldonado wrote on Facebook that he was outraged by the local police district’s decision to shut down a road near the parade to stop shootings.
Arzuaga and Perez were far from the only people shot during parade festivities the weekend of June 19, according to the Tribune. The newspaper found a total of 14 people were shot within blocks of the festivities.
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