Chicago Violence

‘It's Very Hard For Us': Mother Shares Pain Of Losing Son To Chicago Gun Violence 3 Years Later

Neftali Reyes Jr. was one of 655 people killed in Chicago in 2017. So far this year more than 760 people have died in city violence.

Annette Flores is still waiting for justice for her son who was killed three years ago today in a drive-by shooting in Chicago's West Town neighborhood.

“It’s very hard for us. It’s very hard for his father,” Flores cried. “It has changed us in a way you can’t even imagine.”

Flores said she struggles with the death of her son, 19-year-old Neftali Reyes Jr., every day.

“I’m maintaining doing the very best I can,” she said. “I’m trying to be hopeful constantly, because this is a crisis that’s not going away.”

Reyes was a college baseball player in South Carolina with dreams of playing in the major leagues. Then his life was cut short.

“He was a beautiful boy as he was on earth, and I know he is in heaven,” she said.

According to the Chicago Police Department, 762 people have been killed in city violence so far this year. Last year 491 people died from violence. The deadliest year was in 2016 when the city had 771 murders.

Reyes' murder remains unsolved.

“Justice hasn't prevailed or there hasn't been any sincere regards, and as his mother I'm angry," Flores cried.

Since her son's death, Flores has done everything in her power to keep his memory and legacy alive. The city honored his life earlier this year by naming a street after him in Humboldt Park. Still, Flores said she would give anything in the world just to have her son back and for the violence to stop.

“If we don’t do anything about it, it’s not going to stop,” she said.

“There is no face on a bullet the way there is such a comfort to take a life so easily,” she said.

Flores has a message for the person who shot her son: "I'd love to wonder what hurt that person was feeling and what caused them to be so callous and be that angry to hate life because if you don't respect life you don't love life."

Flores said she’s not giving up the fight for justice and urges mothers who are in her shoes to never give up the fight no matter how long it takes.

“You’re not alone. It doesn’t matter if you feel so alone you’re not alone,” she said. “Reach out and it’s OK not to be OK. Our babies are not coming, back but together we may win because we’re mothers.”

A balloon release Tuesday night at Roberto Clemente Community Academy honored Reyes’ life. Flores said a new detective has been assigned to her son’s case. She told NBC 5 she plans to meet with that detective sometime on Wednesday.

Contact Us