HUMBOLDT PARK — A Chicago man accused of fatally shooting a young father during the Puerto Rican Parade festivities in Humboldt Park last month booked a cross country flight less than an hour after the attack, prosecutors said Friday as a Cook County judge ordered him held without bail.
Anthony Lorenzi, 34, of the 1000 block of North Hamlin Avenue, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 24-year-old Gyovanny Arzuaga on June 19, an incident caught on gruesome video that shocked the city. Lorenzi was arrested in San Diego earlier this month and denied bail Friday by Cook County Judge David Navarro.
Lorenzi’s defense attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, argued Lorenzi was acting out of self-defense and thecellphone videos of the shooting, which have been widely circulated online, were not “clear cut.” But Navarro, in denying Lorenzi’s bail, said it is clear Arzuaga was kneeling over his partner, Yasmin Perez, 25, before he was killed.
Arzuaga “was not posing a threat to the life or safety of [Lorenzi] or any other individuals at that moment,” Navarro said.
Navarro also rejected claims Lorenzi would have been charged differently if he were a police officer responding to the situation or did not have a criminal record.
“… I don’t have that situation before me,” Navarro said. “The situation before me … is Mr. Lorenzi, a multiple convicted felon, in possession of a firearm, firing multiple shots, causing the death of [Arzuaga].”
The shooting happened about 9:15 p.m. June 19 after a minor car crash, police said. Arzuaga, Perez and two friends were driving in the 3200 block of West Division Street and waving Puerto Rican flags when Arzuaga, the driver, “lost control” and hit a parked car, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
That sparked a confrontation with people nearby. A couple of people ambushed Arzuaga’s car and beat him before Lorenzi and his group — “known” members of the Latin Kings gang who had been “throwing gang signs” on the street for several hours prior to the incident — joined the melee from across the street and helped drag Arzuaga out of the car, Murphy said.
In the midst of the chaos, Perez was shot and fell to the ground. Realizing Perez had been shot, Arzuaga kneeled over his partner. That’s when Lorenzi pointed his gun directly at Arzuaga and opened fire, Murphy said. Another gunman, who has not yet been charged, fired shots at the car “from a distance.” That person and Lorenzi ran off, Murphy said.
Lorenzi booked a flight to San Diego just 45 minutes after the shooting “try and get away with” murder, Murphy said. He got on the plane the next morning without any bags, Murphy said.
At least 10 shell casings were found on the scene. Arzuaga was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds to his body.
Perez, who suffered a gunshot wound in her throat and near her spine, died from her injuries a few days later, on June 22. Police believe Perez was shot accidentally, likely by Arzuaga, the father of her two young children.
A warrant was issued for Lorenzi’s arrest June 23. U.S. Marshals arrested him July 9 in an apartment building parking lot in San Diego.
The attack was captured on cellphone video that stunned city leaders and locals. The video shows the attackers dragging Perez out of the car, and the young mom bleeding on the ground as Arzuaga kneels over her. With people standing nearby, a man in a white tank top fires at Arzuaga. The shooter and the rest of the group run off while Arzuaga lays on Perez’s body and then rolls over, bleeding.
“This was anger. Those shots the defendant fired were fired out of anger,” Murphy said.
Oppenheimer argued Lorenzi opened fire out of self-defense. While it was a “tragedy of epic proportions,” Lorenzi had “nothing to do with the original altercation” and only got involved after Arzuaga shot Perez and then pointed his gun in the direction of Lorenzi and others in the area, Oppenheimer said.
Arzuaga “fired the first shot, he was the aggressor,” Oppenheimer said.
“If my client was a police officer, he would’ve been justified in shooting [Arzuaga] to help defend those around him,” he said, adding that Arzuaga could’ve faced homicide charges for the death of his partner had he survived.
Oppenheimer said Lorenzi flew to California the day after the shooting out of fear because he is a convicted felon. He has five convictions since 2016, according to Chicago police records, including reckless driving in October 2020 and aggravated fleeing and eluding in January 2016.
Lorenzi lives with his parents and two children, Oppenheimer said. His next court date is Aug. 17.
The shooting gained national attention as Chicago struggles with gun violence this summer, including multiple mass shootings. Supporters rallied around the young parents’ families, raising more than $135,000 to help pay for funeral services.
“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 online fundraisers.
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