LOGAN SQUARE — A month after 26-year-old Suraj Mahadeva was fatally shot in Logan Square, his family is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer.
Mahadeva was killed early Dec. 11 while on a friend’s porch in the 2100 block of North Albany Avenue, not far from where he lived. He was waiting to be let inside his friend’s house when he was shot in his head, according to police and loved ones.
“Please help us in finding the truth,” his mother Evangeline Mahadeva said Thursday after a press conference to announce the reward. “We don’t want vengeance, we just want justice and a closure for my son. … If anybody out there heard anything, saw anything, please help us.”
Some friends and family believe it was a random act of violence. Police haven’t been able to provide any information about the events leading up to the fatal shooting. Police spokesman Kellie Bartoli said no one has been arrested and “the incident, including a possible motive, remains under investigation.”
An active member of Chicago’s LGTBQIA and Asian-American communities, Suraj Mahadeva was a social and compassionate person always surrounded by friends and spent much of his spare time helping others, his loved ones said. He taught kids with autism how to swim and helped young Chicagoans experiencing homelessness in addition to working as a medical technician by day.
Mahadeva’s murder sent shockwaves through his network of family and friends, and the neighborhood. About 100 loved ones gathered at the LGTBQIA community hub Center on Halsted last month for a vigil in his honor, taking turns sharing memories of the bright young man.
“He taught me so much about life. He had such an open mind. He was so curious [about] people and getting to know them, and understanding their lives and trying to walk in their shoes. … I really think the world is going to be a dimmer place without him,” high school and college friend Teja Kodali said.
Loved ones returned to the Center on Halsted on Thursday to announce the $10,000 reward, and to highlight the devastating effects of Chicago’s gun violence.
“Suraj should be alive today. So many people in this city should be alive today who are not with us because of gun violence,” friend Christian Aldana said. “And I think that tells us everything we need to know about how little is being done to address the root cause of violence because this is not new. This is a generations-long, deeply rooted issue in this city.”
In announcing the reward, Mahadeva’s father, Shivantha Mahadeva, described the shooting as his “worst nightmare come true.”
“I’m finding it difficult to wake up from that nightmare. That’s how it feels. And this should not happen to any parent. At all,” he said.
Shivantha Mahadeva urged anyone with information about the shooting to “do the right thing” and call detectives.
“I know there is a person who is compassionate out there who knows the person who took the life of my son away, and I am praying that person has the strength to come forward,” he said.
After his short remarks, Shivantha and Evangeline Mahadeva walked across the room and peered out the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Halsted Street, holding each other.
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