Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara | Homicide Watch Chicagohttp://homicides.suntimes.com/victims/julio-cesar-garcia-lara/Latest news about Julio Cesar Garcia-Laraen-usThu, 13 Jul 2017 13:10:37 -050015-year-old Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara tried to inspire kids to 'feel good about being young in Chicago'http://homicides.suntimes.com/2017/07/13/15-year-old-julio-cesar-garcia-lara-tried-to-inspire-kids-to-feel-good-about-being-young-in-chicago/<img class="size-medium wp-image-27120" src="http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar2-169x300.jpg" alt="Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara | Marissa Estrada" width="169" height="300" srcset="http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar2-169x300.jpg 169w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar2-500x889.jpg 500w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar2-450x800.jpg 450w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar2.jpg 540w" sizes="(max-width: 169px) 100vw, 169px" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara | Marissa Estrada</p> <p>By BLAIR PADDOCK<br /> Homicide Watch Chicago</p> <p>Spending most of his time volunteering with the St. Gall Catholic Church youth group, <a href="http://homicides.suntimes.com/victims/julio-cesar-garcia-lara/">Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara</a>, 15, was a charismatic "natural born leader," according to his godfather, Gary Graf.</p> <p>"He was happy and full of enthusiasm, making the youth [at church] around him feel good about being young in Chicago," Graf said.</p> <p>Garcia-Lara's life ended on June 12, shot to death while riding in the back of an SUV in the West Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side, according to Chicago Police. </p> <p>Around 10:30 p.m., a white Dodge Charger started following the car Garcia-Lara was in on the 5900 block of South Pulaski, and someone started shooting. He was struck in the back and in the head, and died less than an hour later at Mount Sinai hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.</p> <p>"This just seems so out of line with the life he was living," Graf said.<br /> <span id="more-26857"></span></p> <img class="size-medium wp-image-27121" src="http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar-1-200x300.jpg" alt="Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara's funeral | Marissa Estrada" width="200" height="300" srcset="http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar-1-200x300.jpg 200w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar-1-500x751.jpg 500w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar-1-533x800.jpg 533w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/cesar-1.jpg 639w" sizes="(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara's funeral | Marissa Estrada</p> <p>The Gage Park resident was not attending school, but would help out at the church, ushering in the morning mass. Since about age 10, he'd participated in the youth group at his church. The younger kids looked up to him as an inspiration, Graf said.</p> <p>"He was the best reflection of the kids in the youth group," Graf said. "The youth especially felt the sting of his death."</p> <p>Marissa Estrada was involved in the youth group, and recalled how spending time with Garcia-Lara at retreats was always enjoyable. He would consistently help with even the smallest tasks at church, always ready to lend a helping hand, she added.</p> <p>"I didn't believe [he died] at first," Estrada said. "Even seeing him in the casket I couldn't believe it."</p> <p>When not volunteering at the church, Garcia-Lara would spend time playing soccer, his friend Yvette Gallarzo said. He was going to be the godfather of her child.</p> <p>"He was always goofing off, even when people were serious, to keep them positive," Gallarzo said. "He would push away his own problems to help out others."<br /> <img class="size-medium wp-image-27123" src="http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/19221867_1907791549434492_4987425760235146029_o-169x300.jpg" alt="Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara | Facebook" width="169" height="300" srcset="http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/19221867_1907791549434492_4987425760235146029_o-169x300.jpg 169w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/19221867_1907791549434492_4987425760235146029_o-768x1365.jpg 768w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/19221867_1907791549434492_4987425760235146029_o-500x889.jpg 500w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/19221867_1907791549434492_4987425760235146029_o-450x800.jpg 450w, http://wordpress.homicidewatch.org/chicago/files/2017/07/19221867_1907791549434492_4987425760235146029_o.jpg 810w" sizes="(max-width: 169px) 100vw, 169px" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara | Facebook</p></p> <p>Graf said he typically was a rebellious kid, having a hard time with authoritative figures. But in recent months, he'd started to grow up and mature. He was becoming more comfortable with himself and a more responsible person, he added.</p> <p>"I sense that he was mature beyond his years, but was having difficulty being young in the adult world," Graf said.</p> <p>While the youth of the community struggle to cope with the death, Graf hopes kids are more cautious in the neighborhood.</p> <p>"I hope the youth learn from this and are more careful," Graf said. "It's saddening that one bullet can destroy such a promising life like that."</p> Blair PaddockThu, 13 Jul 2017 13:10:37 -0500http://homicides.suntimes.com/2017/07/13/15-year-old-julio-cesar-garcia-lara-tried-to-inspire-kids-to-feel-good-about-being-young-in-chicago/Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara15-year-old active church member Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara fatally shot while riding in back of SUV in West Lawnhttp://homicides.suntimes.com/2017/06/14/15-year-old-julio-cesar-garcia-lara-fatally-shot-while-riding-in-back-of-suv-in-west-lawn/<p><iframe src="http://homicides.suntimes.com/api/v1/homicides/2430.html" width="100%" height="350" frameborder=0></iframe></p> <p>Fifteen-year-old <a href="http://homicides.suntimes.com/victims/julio-cesar-garcia-lara/">Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara</a> was shot to death late Monday night while riding in the back of an SUV in the West Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side.</p> <p>About 10:30 p.m., a white Dodge Charger started trailing a red Chevrolet Trailblazer in the 5900 block of South Pulaski, according to Chicago Police.</p> <p>Someone in the Charger fired shots, and Garcia-Lara, who was sitting in the back of the SUV, was struck in the back and head, authorities said. </p> <p>He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:11 p.m., police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. </p> <p>He lived in the West Elsdon neighborhood on the Southwest Side and was a student and church member at St. Gall's School and Parish in Gage Park.<br /> <span id="more-26473"></span></p> <p>Brother Alan Parham of St. Gall's posted on Facebook: "I knew Cesar as a young man who was always smiling and always said hello. ... a cheerful young man at St. Gall's, active in the youth group (Warriors of Peace) and sometimes helper in the catechetical program."</p> <p>He said he tried to comfort the boy's family after the shooting.</p> <p>"I just came from visiting the family. I had few words, just tears and prayers. I was oddly comforted by the friends of the family praying the rosary in the basement. There was a small altar with pictures of Cesar, as we called him at St. Gall's. </p> <p>"One was of the proud day when he was confirmed a little over a year ago, and the picture was of Cesar beside Cardinal Cupich. I felt so sad when I was leaving the house and promised to return..."</p> <p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/655098571359726/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%223%22%2C%22ref_newsfeed_story_type%22%3A%22regular%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D">A Candle Lighting Ceremony</a> in Cesar's honor will be conducted at 6 p.m. Friday in the basement of the church at 55th and Kedzie.</p> <p><em>--Chicago Sun-Times Wire and Homicide Watch Chicago</em></p> Jeff MayesWed, 14 Jun 2017 14:42:59 -0500http://homicides.suntimes.com/2017/06/14/15-year-old-julio-cesar-garcia-lara-fatally-shot-while-riding-in-back-of-suv-in-west-lawn/Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara