Abner Garcia was a 23-year-old U.S. Army veteran. Garcia was only 19-years-old when he told his mother about his decision to join the Army.
Garcia's mother shared,
"I supported him. I wanted him to go. I didn't tell him I was scared. I didn't tell him I was afraid...I just wanted him out of Chicago ... the violence here, that was the reason why I wanted him to go."
When he returned home from the military, he was determined to help his increasingly violent city. Once home he began studying criminal justice at University of Illinois in Chicago.
While going to school he also spent countless hours mentoring troubled youth at his local YMCA.
It was last Saturday morning, that Garcia was brutally killed by gang members.
"The hardest thing for me was when he left for the military," Juarez said. "And now, this? This is the worst thing."
Garcia was driving south in the 5200 block of South Pulaski Road. Before he knew it, a van pulled up beside Garcia's vehicle. The individuals in the van began flashing gang signs.
Without the slightest confrontation taking place, someone who was inside the van opened the van door and fired a single shot.
"There was no confrontation, no confrontation at all," Juarez said. "This crisis came out of nowhere."
Garcia was shot in the head at about 1:40 a.m.
He was immediately rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. Within a few hours he was gone.
At this point law enforcement has confirmed that Garcia did not have any known gang affiliations.
Garcia had high hopes of one day becoming a police officer.
Garcia was also a member of the Urban Warriors program. This program pairs troubled youths with veterans. Garcia was set to begin the third round of mentoring with the Urban Warriors program next week.
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