5-Year-Old's Murderer Targeted Family: Cops

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Family members erected a makeshift memorial outside the Elgin home where Eric was shot, including pictures, candles and balloons.

    His parents heard gunshots as they drove away from their Elgin home, but didn’t realize anyone had been hurt until 5-year-old Eric Galarza Jr. spoke up from the back seat.

    “He said, ‘Daddy, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’” his aunt, Jenny Jayramillo recounted Saturday, a day after the shooting.

    The boy’s parents pulled into a nearby gas station and dialed 911, but it was too late to save their oldest son.

    Eric, a lively preschooler who loved dogs and was learning to read, died shortly after the 7 p.m. shooting, which Elgin police said appeared to be gang-related.

    “It is believed that this car was specifically targeted,” Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said in a statement. “We are determined to find those responsible for this incident and bring them to justice.”

    No one was in custody Sunday for the killing, which occurred in the 900 block of Elma Avenue in the northwest suburb.

    The Elgin police gang unit continues to investigate the boy’s shooting.  They are asking anyone with information to call the Elgin Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (847) 695-4195 or go to the city’s website at www.cityofelgin.org/police and follow the link to leave an anonymous text.

    The street is usually peaceful, Jayramillo said, and she didn’t know why anyone in the family might be targeted.

    Eric, along with his parents, an aunt, and his younger brother and sister, were pulling away from their home to go to dinner when the shooting occurred, she said.

    The boy’s parents are “devastated” by his death, she said.

    “They’re in shock," Jayramillo said. “They’re trying to hold up strong for their other babies, but they’re devastated.”

    Eric was learning to read and loved playing with his dog, a chihuahua named “Pink” —though his aunt said he’d pet any dog he’d meet.

    “He was a real happy kid, and he was real smart,” Jayramillo said.