Father Returns to Where Son Died, Calls for Change

By Natalie Martinez and BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, May 25, 2010  |  Updated 10:15 PM CDT
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Holding his youngest son close, Harold Hernandez on Tuesday returned to the location where his eldest son was shot and killed as he walked home from school a day earlier.

"I just wanted to see the last spot where my son took his last breath," he said of his son, Destin Hernandez.

Police say the 15-year-old Thorbridge High School honor and scholarship-winning student was an innocent bystander when he took a bullet to the face near a South Side steak and fish shop at East Sibley Boulevard and Oak Street in Dolton.

Detectives were back at the scene on Tuesday, searching for clues that will lead them to the gunman. Members of the Major Crimes Task Force said they're reviewing surveillance video taken from the eatery.

Neighbors complain that the area hasn't always been as violent as it has been lately, and demanded that it be quelled. One woman specifically cited the Chicago Housing Authority moving into the area as a reason for the downfall of the area and specifically blamed Mayor Richard Daley.

Hernandez was an artist and loved to show family members and friends his work. He was a model and an athlete in school and a friend to his neighbors and his church.

"If you could have been at the hospital last night or here at the house with grandmothers all over and neighbors and church members and just long-time friends, how he touched -- he had such an impact on their lives," said his aunt, Jacqueline Henry.

Harold Hernandez said he knows his son was a child of God.

"He's an angel that left our Earth to go to another place to be a better angel," he said, adding that he hopes his son's death wasn't in vain. "I'm not angry at the person who did this, but you know what? I hope that my son's loss can change another life. You know, take that life that pulled the trigger, change him tomorrow. Repent for what he's done, and say, you know what, maybe I could be Destin tomorrow."

Police have not yet arrested anyone in the daytime shooting and they, as well as family members, are asking that even the littlest tip be called in.

Destin Hernandez's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday on Chatham's Avalon Church of Christ.

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