Reward Offered in Landscaper's Death

Friday, Jun 3, 2011  |  Updated 9:48 PM CDT
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Heriberto Barajas, 21, was working in the Marquette Park neighborhood on May 20 he was shot during a robbery attempt by four men, police said.

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Reward Offered in Landscaper's Death

A reward has been offered for information that leads to an arrest in the May shooting death of landscaper Heriberto Barajas.
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A landscaping company on Friday began offering a reward after one of its employees was shot and killed last month while on the job.

Heriberto Barajas, 21, was working in the Marquette Park neighborhood on May 20 when he was shot during a robbery attempt by four men, police said.

"There are no words to tell you how difficult it was to come back here today, but we knew we had to be here," said Tandem Landscaping owner Barbara DeKerf.

She and Barajas' co-workers returned to the scene of the crime to honor Barajas, by finishing the job he could not complete.

"He was a good man, a good provider," said DeKerf. "He came to work smiling every day."

DeKerf is now offering a $6,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

"It's not nearly enough and it will never bring Heriberto back to us. He will always be alive in our hearts," she said.

Barajas' sister-in-law fought back tears as she talked about how the family is struggling with the loss.

"He was a very hard working man. He was not one of those guys that was involved in gangs or anything like that. That's why it's so sad," she said.

Neighbors said the incident wasn't the first time a contractor hired to do work in the area has been harassed or robbed.

"It doesn't make sense that people have to come to work to do honest day's labor and have to have armed guards to protect them," said Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th).

She and other community leaders are urging the public to come forward with information.

"I know in my heart someone watching this has information, and we need them to bring that information forward," said DeKerf. "Not only for the safety of my men, but for the safety of every man, woman and child in this neighborhood."

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