A 19-year-old active member of the National Guard was shot and killed this weekend on Chicago's Northwest Side, leaving his family heartbroken and searching for answers.
Chrys Carvajal was found lying on a sidewalk unresponsive with gunshot wounds at approximately 1:23 a.m. Saturday morning in the 2200 block of North Lockwood, police said. Officers were first called to the area after a report of shots fired.
Family members told NBC 5 Carvajal had been home for less than a month and had plans to return to the National Guard base in Riverside when he was gunned down early Saturday.
“He fought for our country,” Jennifer Ramirez, Carvajal's sister, said. “He left the National Guard to come visit his family. He was fighting for our country. He comes to Chicago, he gets killed in the streets of Chicago.”
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According to police, there were no initial witnesses to the incident and further details weren't immediately known. No one was in custody as of Sunday night.
Carvajal's family said he would have celebrated his 20th birthday on July 9. He wanted to become a Chicago Police officer to support the community.
Family members said the 19-year-old attended a party with his girlfriend just down the street from where the shooting occurred.
“We have to live a whole life without my brother,” Ramirez said. “I would have never thought I would have to bury my brother.”
A memorial in honor of Carvajal grew Saturday in Belmont-Cragin - with flowers and candles to honor his life. Remembering her brother, Ramirez recounted a conversation she had with him when he came home from basic training.
“He told me if I’m ever gone take care of my mom, take care of Brittany and Chrys and Anthony,” she cried. “How am I supposed to stay strong you guys don’t know what I’m going through.”
Carvajal was one of at least nine people killed in Chicago violence over the Fourth of July weekend, which Police Supt. David Brown told City Council members last week is CPD's "most challenging weekend of the year."
The Fourth of July holiday is typically one of the weekends in Chicago that sees the most gun violence. More than 70 people were shot last weekend, including two mass shootings that left two people dead and 15 others wounded in a matter of hours.
The Illinois National Guard released the following statement regarding Carvajal's death:
"Private 1st Class Chrys Carvajal was a member of the Illinois Army National Guard. He was a member of Lima Company, Recruit Sustainment Program, Recruiting and Retention Battalion. He was new to the Illinois National Guard and was to be assigned to a transportation unit.
Our hearts go out Private 1st Class Carvajal’s family and friends. Although he was new to the military, he took a sacred oath to protect both our state and nation. Our thoughts are with his loved ones after this sudden and terrible loss."