LOGAN SQUARE — Giovanni Lozano planned to celebrate Christmas with his family at his grandmother’s house, as he had every other year.
But Lozano didn’t make it to the celebration: The 24-year-old was killed in an Avondale shooting as his family gathered a few miles away.
Instead of opening presents, Lozano’s grief-stricken family spent the evening with detectives and morgue technicians. Now, they’re raising money to cover the cost of Lozano’s funeral. An online fundraiser to help his immediate family had raised about $3,200 toward its $20,000 goal as of Thursday morning.
“He’s always going to be with us. He’s always going to be the smile we think about. He’s always going to be with us on Christmas,” said Lozano’s aunt, Ana Nunez.
About 10:40 p.m. Dec. 25, officers found Lozano with a gunshot wound in his head in the 3000 block of North Avers Avenue, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A police spokesperson couldn’t provide any further information about the shooting, saying only that it’s under investigation.
Nunez said Lozano was expected that night at his grandmother’s house in West Humboldt Park for a family Christmas celebration, but he never came. He lived with his mother just a couple blocks away from where he was killed, Nunez said.
Nunez and other family members described Lozano as a family man who would “do anything” for his two siblings and his 4-year-old daughter.
Lozano’s one passion in life was cars, his family said. When he wasn’t working part-time jobs — most recently, at a tire shop and at an Office Depot warehouse — he would fix up cars and race them. He was a member of a few local car clubs, Nunez said.
“He wanted to work on cars, that was it. That was his whole world,” she said. “He had ADD as a child, so breaking stuff apart and putting it together gave him the confidence to cope with ADD. So basically, that’s what saved him.”
A second-generation Mexican American, Lozano also enjoyed listening to Mexican music, including new hits and older, regional music his grandfather played for him growing up, Nunez said. His family moved to the United States from Jalisco, Mexico, in the ’70s, settling in the Logan Square area, she said.
Family and friends affectionately called Lozano “Gio,” or “Oso,” which means “bear” in Spanish.
“He was big and his hair was curly. … When he was working nights, he would have these circles under his eyes, so he was a panda. He was Oso,” Nunez said.
Nunez said she doesn’t know why anyone would want to kill her nephew, a young father with “a big old smile that never stopped.” Though Lozano “had his issues” growing up, he got his priorities straight as he got older, focusing only on his family and cars, she said.
“This happening was just out of the blue. We have no idea why. It’s horrible,” she said.
After the fatal shooting, family and friends set up two altars honoring Lozano with candles, balloons and other artifacts — one in Lozano’s home and the other at the spot where he was killed, Nunez said. Lozano is one of about 800 homicide victims in Chicago in 2021, the most violent year in two and a half decades.
“He should’ve never gone out this way. … He was loved by so many, and he’s missed very much,” Nunez said.